The family of a Fairfield teenage girl filed a four-count negligence lawsuit against the Fairfield Community High School District, the school board, and her physical education teacher who was convicted of sexually abusing her in 2009 and 2010.
The plaintiffs, who wish to remain anonymous (John and Mary Doe), parents of Jane Doe, claimed that the school officials knew about an inappropriate sexual relationship between the victim and the PE teacher Haven A. Kirkpatrick, and failed to report the relationship to police or the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
After being found guilty last February of eight counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, Kirkpartick, 31, is serving a three-year prison sentence. Kirkpatrick will not be eligible for parole in August of 2013.
In the lawsuit, the family of the victim claimed that a member of the Fairfield Community High School Board was aware of the inappropriate relationship between their 16-year-old daughter and Kirkpatrick. In the fall of 2011, the board member observed the victim and Kirkpatrick in an inappropriate encounter at Kirkpatrick’s residence. Josh Ebner, the high school principal at the time, was also aware of the relationship and had asked Kirkpatrick to resign her coaching duties during the 2009-2010 school year.
Rebecca August, the school counselor, was also claimed to have been counseling the victim and was aware that she was depressed and suicidal, but failed to share that information with the victim’s parents or the police.
The victim’s parents also filed a count of “wanton and willful negligence” alleging that the school district failed the stop the sexual contact from recurring and also failed to protect the student from Kirkpatrick.
Two counts alleging criminal abuse and battery were filed against Kirkpatrick. Filed in the Wayne County Circuit Court, the family is seeking out more than $50,000 in each of the four-count lawsuits.
Feb. 27 has been selected as the date for a hearing in the lawsuit. Kirkpatrick is currently serving her time at the women’s prison in Lincoln, Ill.
If a member of your family has been through a bad situation and needs legal help, contact an Illinois family law attorney. Attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. can assist you and your family today.