A Florida student who was 16 when she was raped by her high school geometry teacher was awarded $49.3 million in damages.
According to the Miami Herald. the victim, now 20, accused Bresnniel Jansen Mones in a 2014 lawsuit that the South Dade Senior High School teacher sent her texts that originally were about school but escalated into conversations about sex—including photos of his genitals.
By December 2013, Mones had forced her to perform oral sex on him and had sex with her on a desk in his classroom.
“I feel like I am making a difference. No amount of money would ever change that,” the student, identified as C.R.R. in the lawsuit, told WSVN following Tuesday’s judgment.
“Being young and being put in that position, I felt like I was against a 32-year-old that obviously had more power, and people would believe him over me, and I didn’t stand a chance.”
The teacher, Bresnniel Jansen Mones, now 35, pleaded guilty to three counts of having sex with a minor and two counts of sending her lewd texts. Mones served six months behind bars for the offense and was released in June.
Though he was originally sentenced to 10 years’ probation, it’s already been reduced to eight, the Herald reported. The 35-year-old is a registered sex offender living in Miami-Dade.
In pleading guilty, he was automatically deemed liable in a 2014 lawsuit filed by the now-20-year-old victim. The victim originally accused the Miami-Dade County School Board of failing to protect her from Mones, who had a history of inappropriate behavior.
“At least one other young student was approached and was engaged in a texting relationship with Jansen attempting to groom and escalate the relationship. The girl’s parents found out, terminated it, and alerted the school…But he was not disciplined,” the lawsuit detailed.
The School Board and the student reached a settlement, leaving Mones on the hook. WFOR noted that $30 million of the hefty judgment was in punitive damages.
The woman said she hopes that the ruling encourages other sexual assault survivors to come forward.
“It’s crazy to see how often this goes on in the world and even though so many people keep coming out, it’s still going on,” C.R.R. told WTVJ.
“Speak out now. It’s never too late. Don’t be afraid. There’s people rooting for you.”
[Featured Image: Bresnniel Jansen Mones/Florida Department of Law Enforcement]