To the Editor:
I represent the family who filed the Tort Claim Notice that MercerMe covered in this article.
Below is a statement in response to the statement the HVRSD issued today regarding that document, which you covered here.
As a threshold matter, Hopewell’s statement is a weak attempt by the District to save face by rewriting history. According to my clients, things the District claimed in its statement to have happened, such as the student’s parents being notified in February/March 2017, never happened. If the District wants to prove that it took my clients’ allegations against [Teacher] as seriously as the District claims it did, the District should provide to my clients every single document it has regarding the allegations, its investigation, its reporting to the authorities, and its decision to allow an accused sexual assaulter to continue to have unfettered access to young female students. So far, it has not done so.
We intend to follow up on these inconsistencies with requests for relevant documents under the Open Public Record Act; and we urge the District to respond cooperatively, without interposing legal technicalities as an excuse to avoid disclosing information to these parents about the investigation of credible allegations of the sexual assault of their daughter. We very much hope that Hopewell will do exactly that, as an indication that it has nothing to hide.
You also asked for a response to the following specific points by the District:*
- “The allegations contained in the Tort Claim Notice are significantly different from the allegations raised during both the 2016-17 and 2018-19 school years.”
- RESPONSE: “The District was aware of every single allegation the student made against [Teacher] in the Tort Claim Notice prior to the document being filed on October 29, 2019. To suggest otherwise is nonsense.”
- “The District reviewed the matter internally and developed appropriate measures to address the concerns raised. Subsequently, the student reported that the situation improved.”
- RESPONSE: “As we stated in the Tort Claim Notice, [Teacher’s] inappropriate conduct toward the student subsided for a whole two weeks in Fall 2016, and only after a guidance counselor said she “would talk to him.” But as we alleged, his inappropriate conduct returned with a vengeance, culminating in a sexual assault against the student later that school year.”
Principal, John Rue & Associates, LLC
* Please note: MercerMe has not requested responses or letters from parties in this litigation.