CHARLESTON – An unnamed former student is suing the Fayette County Board of Education after she claims she was sexually harassed and abused by a teacher.
Maurice White, an employee of the board, was also named as a defendant in the suit.
Jane Doe was a student at Gauley Bridge Elementary School from 2002 through 2008 and was in sixth through eighth grade at Valley High School from 2008 through 2011, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Doe claims during her time at Gauley Bridge, White was employed to teach music and gym at the school and made inappropriate comments about Doe’s appearance and made inappropriate propositions to her in an effort to induce the child into an inappropriate and illegal sexual relationship.
While Doe was in fifth grade, White convinced her to give him her e-mail address through which he could communicate with her, without the knowledge or consent of Doe’s parents and White began to regularly send e-mail messages to her, according to the suit.
Doe claims when she was in sixth grade, White continued to send her e-mails and she began to feel uncomfortable by the content of the messages and began to suspect that he wanted a relationship with her that was more involved than was appropriate between a student and teacher.
During the 2009-2010 school year, Doe was in seventh grade and White was then employed as a substitute teacher and sought out opportunities to substitute for Doe’s teachers, according to the suit.
Doe claims White frequently touched the private areas of her body during school hours and on school property.
Also during her seventh grade year, White began to video-chat with Doe and would expose his male genitalia to her and masturbated and requested that she show her private parts to him, according to the suit. White then took pornographic photos of her during the video-chat sessions using his web camera and saved them to his computer.
Doe claims toward the end of her seventh grade year, White insisted on meeting Doe at the mall and convinced her to get away from her mother during the mall trip and she evaded her mother and during the brief encounter, White kissed her.
After the meeting, the sexual content of White’s communications intensified and would tell her he wanted specific sexual favors and used intimidating language, according to the suit.
Doe claims the following school year, White continued to use his employment as a substitute teacher to gain access to her and would sexually harass and abuse her during school hours.
In 2011, White convinced Doe to come to his house in Rand for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts and she went to his house on multiple occasions after the next few months and, during this period, White also convinced Doe to allow him to sneak into her home at night when her father was at work and her mother was sleeping in another part of the house, also for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual acts, according to the suit.
Doe claims in June 2011, White convinced her to travel to Ohio with him and instructed her to tell her parents she was participating in a week-long Girl Scout trip.
On Aug. 27, 2011, Doe told her parents she was spending the night at a friend’s house and went, instead, to White’s house, according to the suit. That evening, Doe’s parents discovered that she had lied to them about her whereabouts and subsequently discovered through Facebook chats and phone texts that she was having an inappropriate relationship with White.
Doe claims on Aug. 30, 2011, her older adult sister contacted the police on her behalf to report what the family had discovered and Doe was examined at Charleston Area Medical Center and then began an extensive course of counseling and prescription medication to assist in her recovery.
The plaintiff suffered physical injuries, as well as extensive emotional injuries, weight gain, depression, anxiety, loss of interest in activities, poor performance in school, loss of friends, humiliation, ridicule by peers and teachers, loss of trust, embarrassment and feelings of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the abuse she suffered at the hands of a trusted teacher, according to the suit.
Doe is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Michael A. Olivio and Stephanie H.D. Mullett of Olivio Law Firm PLLC.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 16-C-746