A former Aberdeen High School Student has been awarded a $2-million settlement in her sexual Abuse lawsuit against the Aberdeen School District and former Band Teacher Michael Alstad.
Court documents show 47-year-old Maria Joyner was sexually abused by Alstad, then band teacher at Aberdeen High School, as early as her junior year in 1989. Alstad confessed to engaging in sexual encounters with Joyner two-to-four times a week in his home, on band trips, and on the school campus throughout Joyner’s time as a student at Aberdeen High School. Alstad worked as a band director at both Aberdeen High School and Miller Junior High School from 1986 to 1991.
Aberdeen School District No. 5 admitted to some of Maria Joyner’s allegations in court documents and disputed others. The money will come from a Washington State insurance pool for school districts.
Her attorney said the timeline was “consistent with what child sexual abuse victims experience.” Darrell Cochran tells KBKW “They blame themselves for years and try to rationalize why they shouldn’t do anything about it.” He added, “they go through catastrauphic points in their life where they realize that the abuse probably had something to do with it and then they eventually get to a point of resolve to do something about it.”
Joyner filed a complaint several years ago in 2007, with the Washington State Office of Public Instruction. But Cochran said after that report prompted Alstad’s termination from a position in Port Townsend, Washington, he moved to Canada. According to his Facebook profile, Alstad still teaches in Canada.
During his interrogation, Alstad was asked to explain the grooming process to which he replied,” I fell in love with [the] Plaintiff and believe she fell in love with me. We treated each other as lovers. I recognize, of course, that I should not have acted on my love for her, and I deeply regret that I did act on it.”
Joyner said in a statement this week, “I am doing this not only for my own need to heal but to bring attention to the tremendous injustice that happens to students when a teacher takes advantage of them like this and a district does not respond. I can no longer stay silent about the profound trauma this man has inflicted on me and his other victims.
This is about standing up for those who have been marginalized by injustices and have not been given a voice or even acknowledgment that they were wronged, and to assure them that they did not deserve what happened to them.
This is about standing up to those who have offended and refuse to accept accountability or possess the humility to admit the crimes they have committed against the very demographic that they claim to care for and nurture.
I hope this can empower other victims to come forward and call out those who have abused their positions of power over them.”