Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Lawsuit against York County School Board, ex-Bruton athletics coach alleging sexual exploitation grooming reaches conclusion

Bruton High School's 2000 AA Championship men's basketball team will reunite for a charity tournament on Saturday.(WYDaily/Google Maps)
A lawsuit alleging two former Bruton High School students were groomed for sexual exploitation was dismissed in June. (WYDaily/Google Maps)

A federal lawsuit against York County School Board alleging two students were groomed for exploitation has been dismissed.

The York County School Division and two former Bruton High School students have apparently reached a “mutually-beneficial resolution” to a Title IX complaint filed by the students against the York County School Board and the high school’s now former athletics coach.

But the attorney for York County, Melissa York with Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman, sent an email about the confirmation at 4:52 p.m. Thursday, and did not make herself available for further questions.

WYDaily called York for comment and York left a WYDaily reporter a voicemail

“I wanted to let you know I’m not able to answer any questions,” she said. “All I can say is to direct you to the statement.”

The vague joint statement simply stated the two former students and the York County School Board reached a “mutually-beneficial resolution” to the Title IX complaint.

The two former students “acknowledge that when the Bruton High School Principal became aware of the situation” involving the athletics coach that officials and “Division-level administration took swift, immediate, and appropriate action to investigate and correct the situation.”

Since no criminal charges are filed against the coach, WYDaily will not be naming him in this story — WYDaily also opted not to name the two former students to protect their privacy.

The students filed a case for “dismissal with prejudice” on June 12, according to court records.

WYDaily reached out to Katherine Goff, spokeswoman for the York County School Division, for comment but she was not immediately available.

WYDaily contacted James Richardson, chairman of the York County School Board, but he referred all inquiries to Goff.

With the information released near the close of business Thursday (and many have Friday off for the July 4 holiday), and division officials and their attorney did not make themselves available for further comment, it’s unclear what they meant by “mutually-beneficial resolution.”

It’s unclear if the coach was fired — the Bruton High School athletics’ website shows another coach’s name.

In January Goff said would only say the coach “is no longer employed by the York County School Division.”

He was employed at the division as a para educator and basketball coach from Nov. 29, 2017 to March 26, 2018.

The case

The federal lawsuit, filed on Oct. 22, 2019, alleged a high school coach had “groomed” two Bruton High students.

One student alleged the coach started offering her rides alone, asking her for private practice sessions and eventually, “put his hands on her hips and repeatedly pulled her butt against her groin.”

The student reported it to a school employee who told the coach to stop but failed to report the behavior to the administration, according to the lawsuit. The behavior continued and she reported the coach again to a different employee, who also did not report the incident to the administration.

The second student said the coach offered to mentor the student and to meet in his office, according to the lawsuit.

RELATED STORY: Lawsuit: Two former Bruton High students groomed for sexual exploitation, and York County School Division did nothing

He suggested the student leave her boyfriend and asked if she did yet. The student told a school teacher, who dismissed the allegations adding the coach was “a good man with a wife and kids and that he was just approaching her a bit awkwardly,” according to the lawsuit.

The coach allegedly asked the same student if she would have oral sex for money and the student told another school employee who told her to “keep an eye on it,” according to the court documents.

Both students began to have mental health issues such as “panic and fear,” with one student enrolling in long-term therapy and dropping out of school.

The students were asking for $50,000 in damages and the school board had previously dismissed the case in December 2019.

On Jan. 6, the attorney for the students filed a rebuttal against the school, according to WYDaily archives.


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsiglianohttp://wydaily.com
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to julia@localvoicemedia.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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