Virginia School Board to Pay Falsely Accused Teacher $73,000

June 26, 2012

A Virginia school board has agreed to pay nearly $73,000 to a popular gym teacher who was falsely accused and acquitted of molesting a 12-year-old girl.

The Fairfax County school board agreed in a closed session Thursday to cover Sean Lanigan’s legal fees that were not already paid by his union’s insurance policy. Lanigan had sued the school board for reimbursement of his legal fees, and a trial date was approaching.

The 45-year-old teacher spent about $125,000 defending himself against two felony sex abuse charges in 2010.

Under state law, state or county employees cleared of criminal charges can seek to recover legal fees. Lanigan first sought about $108,000 in 2010, but the board offered him $60,000 after eight months. Lanigan sued for the full amount.

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