Marysville to pay $1M to another former student for alleged sex abuse

The latest settlement marks the earliest known allegations against Kurt Hollstein, who worked in the district until last year.


MARYSVILLE — The Marysville School District has settled another claim of sexual abuse by a longtime teacher.

In May, the district agreed to pay $3.5 million to two former students who said Kurt Hollstein sexually abused them. Shortly after a man saw a report in The Daily Herald about that settlement, he came forward with similar claims dating back to 1981, the earliest known allegations against Hollstein, his attorney Ashton Dennis said.

The latest victim is set to get $1 million in the settlement finalized last month, Dennis told The Daily Herald.

Hollstein was an art teacher who also served as the cheerleading adviser. He left the district last year after serving as athletic director at Marysville Getchell High School.

Hollstein could not be reached for comment.

“The District believes any such abusive conduct by staff towards any student is a breach of trust that is inexcusable,” the school district said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “The District’s insurer recently reached a settlement of the claim with the former student. The District’s insurers are covering all costs of the settlement. No District funds were used to cover the settlement.”

The district continued: “Marysville School District’s foremost priority is to provide a safe and positive educational experience for its students and staff and remain committed to doing so.”

In 1981, a boy who was about 14 was Hollstein’s student at the junior high school. The teacher began to groom him, said Dennis, of the Washington Law Center. Hollstein befriended him, inviting him to stay after school to play instruments and hang out.

That quickly escalated into frequent sexual assaults on school grounds, for one or two years, the lawyer said.

This was the same pattern the two previous victims described, Dennis noted. Both of those students were girls.

“This befriending relationship type of behavior makes the victim feel very special,” he said.

On June 20, Dennis sent a tort claim outlining the allegations to the school district. The district’s attorneys reached out and interviewed the victim.

“During the time that the student was attending school in the 1980s, and up to the time of the claim, the alleged staff misconduct was not disclosed to any school or District administrator,” the district’s statement reads.

The man didn’t “want to harm the school financially,” so he settled for $1 million before filing a lawsuit, the limit the district’s insurance would cover, Dennis said. He could’ve gotten much more, but he didn’t want to affect students going to school there now.

The previous settlement also included a written apology to the two former students. This most recent settlement did not include such a provision.

The victim wanted to empower other men to come forward if they had similar experiences, the attorney said. He dealt with feelings of shame and guilt throughout his life because of the abuse. Dennis said the settlement gives his client some validation.

In the previous case, a Snohomish County Superior Court judge ruled the Marysville School District violated the state’s Law Against Discrimination. Washington school districts may have liability for acts by their employees on school grounds, including sexual misconduct, according to the state law.

The statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse in Washington allows victims to seek compensation when they discover the abuse caused injury.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439;; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

If you are struggling, help is available:

CARE Crisis Line: 425-258-4357 or 1-800-584-3578 (North Puget Sound); Online Crisis Chat: (24/7).

Crisis Prevention & Intervention Team: (Snohomish County) 425-349-7447.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673; Online chat hotline.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse: 206-568-7777 (non-emergency); TTY Message: 206-517-9670.

Pathways for Women: 425-774-9843.

Protection Order Assistance Program: 425-388-3638.

Providence Sexual Assault Center: 425-252-4800.

WA Warm Line, a peer support group for people living with emotional and mental health challenges: 877-500-9276 or 866-427-4747.

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