HUNTINGTON — The mother of a severely disabled Milton Middle School student has sued Cabell County Schools, claiming officials failed to protect her son from the aide accused of sexually abusing him.
Charleston attorney Robert M. Bastress III filed the lawsuit last week against the aide and the Cabell County Board of Education, more than a year after authorities charged Jason Curry with second-degree sexual abuse, a felony. Curry has not yet been indicted. He no longer works for the school system.
The school principal notified the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department after a teacher reported a Nov. 22, 2019, incident in which Curry is accused of the “forcible fondling” of the student as the boy sat on Curry’s lap. Authorities charged Curry three days later.
Parents learned much later from prosecutors of an Oct. 15, 2019, incident in which a teacher witnessed Curry inappropriately touching the student while holding the child on his lap, according to the suit. Had parents been aware at the time of that incident, which was not documented by school personnel, the second might have been prevented, the suit says.
The boy requires an aide because of his disability, which rendered him unable to inform his parents of the abuse, the suit says. The Herald-Dispatch does not name victims of sexual abuse.
Teachers and other school personnel are among those required by state law to report suspected child abuse to authorities. That same law requires boards of education to obtain signed statements from all employees saying they know and understand the requirements.
“I think what happened to this victim in this case is sick and disgusting in its own, but it was compounded that the school failed to notify them,” Bastress said. “The school officials knew the victim wasn’t capable of communicating these type of events to the parents. If something like that happens and the child isn’t able to communicate, the school system needs to.”
County schools spokesman Jedd Flowers declined to discuss the specifics of the case.
“Cabell County Schools, as mandatory reporters and according to standard procedure and practice, report all received allegations of misconduct to the appropriate authorities (including the local law enforcement in which the school is located, Child Protective Services and the West Virginia Department of Education is deemed necessary) for further investigation,” he said.
Bastress is seeking a jury trial. The Cabell County Board of Education had not filed a response to the lawsuit as of Thursday.