WHEELING —Three teachers are suing the Ohio County Board of Education for the board's indifference to complaints made about an alleged sexual predator who was employed by the school board.
Joe Kolb, the principal of Bridge Street Middle School, Superintendent Kimberly S. Miller and Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones also were named as defendants in the suit.
Lindsay Ammirante, Autumn Troullos and Rachel Miller were teachers at Bridge Street Middle and experienced a hostile work environment and sexual harassment due to Kolb's actions.
On Oct. 27, 2017, Kolb attempted to open a bathroom door while Miller was using the bathroom and jokingly said to her once she exited that he thought she was Troullos and asked her if she was scared before laughing, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim Miller reported the incident to the board and nothing was done about it.
Kolb allegedly repeatedly leered and looked at Troullos up and down and would make various comments about her appearance and also attempted to open the bathroom door on her, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim when Troullos confronted Kolb about the bathroom door incident, he laughed in her face.
Kolb made inappropriate comments to Troullos on several occasions, to which other teachers and students commented on as Kolb trying to flirt with her, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim all of Kolb's actions were reported to the board and the board failed to do a formal investigation or take any action to protect Troullos.
The plaintiffs claim after Kolb's divorce from his ex-wife, he began to harass and intimidate Ammirante because she was related to his ex-wife.
Kolb sent harassing and profane texts to Ammirante on his county-issued phone and would treat her differently than other teachers.
In May, Troullos called the board and spoke with Jones, who told her he would have to speak with the county's attorneys, according to the suit. No one ever called Troullos back.
Also in May, Ammirante had a meeting with Jones, who told her there was nothing the school board could do regarding things that happened outside of school property, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim the next day, Ammirante was at a baseball game when Kolb approached her and began screaming at her and telling her, "Don't worry. You're going to get yours."
Ammirante filed a formal criminal complaint after the incident and took the criminal complaint to the board. After the incident, Kolb was escorted from the school for the remainder of the school year, but he was allowed to return the following school year.
The plaintiffs claim the school board failed to protect them.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are represented by Mark E. Gaydos and Buddy Turner of McNeer Highland McMunn and Varner.
Ohio Circuit Court Case number: 18-C-294