Settlement reached in Holland Christian Title IX lawsuit
posted: May 15, 2019 at 9:01 a.m.
GRAND RAPIDS — A federal lawsuit between Holland Christian Schools and a recent alumna has been settled, according to court documents.
Gabrielle Hoffman sued HCS after she said the school favored her ex-boyfriend, another student at the school, who was sentenced to probation for criminal sexual conduct against her. At the time of the incident, Hoffman was 15 and legally unable to consent to sex.
After the conviction, Hoffman said HCS made accommodations for her assailant, but would not make similar accommodations for herself. The lawsuit also claimed HCS did not have a Title IX policy, which is federally required.
The lawsuit was settled on May 8, ahead of a trial scheduled for later this year.
Hoffman’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski, said the details of the settlement are confidential and would not disclose whether there was a monetary settlement from HCS.
A federal judge dismissed a large portion of the lawsuit prior to the settlement, stating those portions of the lawsuit would be better suited to a county circuit court case. Truszkowski said those issues would not be taken up again.
“I will say the parties came to an agreement, and they resolved the claim,” she said. “There will be no further action, the settlement took care of all of it. The settlement is completely sealed and 100 percent confidential.”
HCS attorney Gary Bartosiewicz did not return requests from The Sentinel for comment about the details of the settlement.
Part of Hoffman’s complaint in the lawsuit requested HCS change its Title IX policies. It’s unclear if any schools procedures or policies have or will change as a result of the settlement.
Recently, several administrators named in the Title IX lawsuit have left the district, including high school principal Darryl De Ruiter and Dan Meester, school superintendent.
— Contact managing editor Audra Gamble at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @SentinelAudra.