NORTH HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to pay $19.9 million in a settlement over a former teacher's aide who was accused of sexually abusing children at an elementary school in North Hollywood, attorneys for the children's families said Thursday.
Lino Cabrera was arrested after the allegations were reported to authorities in May 2019.
Investigators said Cabrera preyed on his young victims at Oxnard Elementary School in North Hollywood, where he worked as a teaching assistant in the school's computer lab.
The charges filed against Cabrera more than four years ago stemmed from the abuse of six victims, girls between the ages of 10 and 11. The settlement announced Thursday was reached on behalf of 14 alleged victims.
"Don't ever hold back from talking. Don't ever hold back from telling how you feel," said one of the alleged victims, who spoke during a news conference on Thursday.
After the abuse was reported in 2019, an aunt of one of the victims described the inappropriate touching.
"For her, it was just the leg because she told him 'OK, don't do that. That's not OK.' But you know some kids are afraid, and they just let adults do whatever because they don't know how to react," she said.
Cabrera was originally charged with one count of continuous sexual abuse and five counts of lewd acts upon a child. In January 2020, he pleaded no contest to one felony count each of continuous sexual abuse and lewd act upon a child under 14 and four misdemeanor counts of child molestation.
He was sentenced to eight years in state prison and was also ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
According to prosecutors, the abuse occurred between September 2016 and May 2019. Parents said Cabrera worked at the school for at least six years.
Two of the mothers of the alleged victims, who wished to remain anonymous, said their daughters are still suffering.
"No kid should be going through this whole pain," a mother said. "It's hard for them when it comes to their future because their minds are changed now. I can see it in my daughter's. She's very ... sometimes she's thinking, but like, she's so off and I really want to help her but I can't."
According to Luis Carrillo, the attorney for the families and one of the mothers, Cabrera has been released from prison. In the settlement agreement, the district admits no fault.
Jane Doe wants other young girls to know to speak up if they feel they're victims of abuse.
"Even if you feel you're going to be judged, someone won't believe you, true me, someone out there will believe you and they will be there to support you."