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June 25, 2014

K pupil a serial groper, suit says

Girl’s parents file sex complaint vs. Shikellamy over touchy boy

— WILLIAMSPORT — A Shikellamy male kindergartner exposed himself in class, groped a female classmate’s buttocks and slipped his hands inside her underwear, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. Middle District Court against the district and Priestley Elementary Principal Dixie Barth.

The parents of a female kindergartner allege Shikellamy and Barth did not adequately address a sexual situation with a boy in their daughter’s class.

Shikellamy Superintendent Patrick Kelley at first was unaware of the lawsuit, then later said “no comment.”

The parents contend that inappropriate activity began Dec. 11, when the boy dropped his pants and revealed himself.

The classroom teacher did not take any action when that occurred, the lawsuit claims, and Barth — in a telephone conversation with the girl’s parents — said kids would be kids and that the boy’s desk had been moved to the front of the classroom, according to the complaint.

Following that incident, the boy gave small gifts to the girl and on Jan. 17, he allegedly kissed her against her will in the cafeteria.

The lawsuit states the girl was punished for the kiss.

Everyone involved met Jan. 24 — the boy’s parents, the girl’s mother, Barth and a teacher, Talisha Swanger — but no action was taken, the complaint states.

One week later, the lawsuit states, the boy groped the girl’s buttocks in class. One day later, Barth called the girl’s father and suggested his daughter be moved to another classroom for making false accusations, the complaint states. The girl’s father rejected that suggestion.

Barth said the girl’s allegations could not be verified, and that Barth would immediately tell all teachers to keep the boy away from the girl, the complaint states.

The girl’s parents allege that did not happen.

On April 6, the boy put his hands down the girl’s pants and underwear and rubbed her, according to the lawsuit. The children were in class together in April despite district officials saying that would not occur, the complaint states.

The parents said they kept their daughter home for a week fearing for her safety, and during that time called Kelley, who they said was shocked and apologized. The girl returned to school in a different classroom.

The complaint claims the girl was a victim of sexual harassment, the district was aware of it and did not adequately address it. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages because the girl was deprived of access to educational opportunities.

 

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