A former student has filed a lawsuit against the Lone Jack School District, claiming they didn’t do anything to stop a former superintendent’s sexual misconduct.
The former student, identified as S.L., alleges that former Lone Jack School District Superintendent Matthew Tarwater is a sexual predator who groomed female students for sex, including herself.
The lawsuit claims that S.L. and Tarwater had sexual contact in 2018, but the sex wasn’t consensual “because (the plaintiff) had been subjected to years of predatory sexual grooming.”
The suit says that plaintiff suffers from several clinically diagnosed ailments, including depression and anxiety.
“Our client is a young woman who was completely failed by Lone Jack school officials who should have been looking out for her,” William Odle, the plaintiff’s attorney, said in a written statement to The Star Editorial Board.“Instead, she suffered years of abuse while the district turned a blind eye to multiple violations of district policies designed to prevent exactly what happened here.”
Before Tarwater resigned last year, he allegedly groomed another Lone Jack School District student identified as K.P. for sex.
“These same school officials have now allowed this man quietly to resign and will not tell us what, if any, steps they’ve taken to ensure this doesn’t happen somewhere else to another student,” Odle wrote. “Our client is determined to make sure what happened to her does not happen again.”
The school board has declined to explain why Tarwater was allowed to resign instead of being fired after the allegations of physical and emotional abuse came out. The lawsuit says he was given seven days to step down.
In light of the gravity of these allegations, the school district is under serious scrutiny for continuing to not address or change the inappropriate ways they have dealt with this situation thus far but district officials wrote in a statement, “The Administration takes seriously allegations of discrimination and promptly investigates whenever complaints are made,” district officials wrote in their statement.
“The Lone Jack School District is disappointed by the many mischaracterizations included throughout the lawsuit,” they added. “In particular, the District strongly disagrees with the misleading claims made about our current Board and administration as well as about the plaintiff’s experience at our school before she graduated almost 5 years ago.”