ROYAL CITY, Washington (STPNS) -- Retiring Royal Superintendent David James notified the school board Monday night that he will intend to seek payment as a consultant for the district if he has to attend a district court trial this summer.
The trial stems from a lawsuit a family on the Royal Slope filed against the district as well as past principal Kent Andersen five years ago, alleging that the district and Andersen failed to protect their daughter’s civil rights when a teacher at the district engaged in sexual activity with her. The family alleges that Andersen knew about the abuse and did not call the family or the police. Teacher Steve Diaz pled guilty to charges of sexual misconduct with a minor in Dec. of 2001, and was fired from his position at the district.
A trial date in federal court was finally set earlier this year after the Washington State Supreme Court took over a year to decide whether the girl, who was thirteen at the time, could have “contributory fault” assessed against her for participation in the relationship with her teacher. Although there have been other cases in Washington where contributory fault has been assessed against minors who have been injured, the justices argued that none of those cases involve sexual abuse, and noted that Washington public policy is directed to protecting children from such abuse.
Andersen said at the board meeting that his attorney was filing an appeal with the Ninth District Court of Appeals in San Francisco asking that he be removed from the lawsuit. James said that there was some language that “protects principals” and the district’s attorneys were basing their appeal on that, hoping to get Andersen dropped from the lawsuit.
According to the girl’s family, attorneys for the school district have also recently filed an emergency stay, but attorneys were unable to be reached for confirmation prior to press time.
James said that Jerry Moberg, the school’s attorney, had told him that he wanted both Andersen and James present at the entire trial this summer, which is estimated to take at least two weeks. James said he’d already contacted board member Bob Murphy about charging the district a fee for his attendance at the trial, because he is no longer under contract at the district after June 30. “Bob said he wasn’t too excited about that…but I’m not going to do it for free,” James said. He added that the last consultant the district hired made $50 an hour. “Even though they don’t make as much money as I do, I’m willing to keep it that low just to save the district some money,” he said.
Board member Craig Janett said he thought the attorney should officially notify the district asking for James to attend the trial. “I wonder why Canfield’s not funding it, if they want him there?” he asked. The board did not decide on the matter. The trial date is for August 16th, 2006 in U.S. District Court in Spokane.
Next week: WASL results, school budget, driver’s education increase, and resignations
© 2013 The South County Sun
Royal City, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from STPNS