Mike Meyer takes on the Olathe School District in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Read the full article from The Kansas City Star below:
The Olathe school district is being sued in federal court by a mother, who alleges that her daughter was sexually harassed as a fourth-grader at Meadow Lane Elementary by former teacher James D. Loganbill, now a registered sex offender after he secretly photographed another 10-year-old student for gratification.
The civil complaint was filed Friday in the U.S. District of Kansas by Shannon Leeper on behalf of her daughter, named in court documents as H.J. It accuses the district of violating its own sexual-harassment policies and federal law by continuing to employ Loganbill as a teacher several years after other accusations of misconduct first came to light. A school district spokeswoman did not immediately respond to The Star’s requests for comment. A criminal defense attorney for Loganbill, who is not named as a defendant in the civil litigation, also did not reply to The Star’s request.
Loganbill, 60, was ordered in November to spend one year in Johnson County jail and register as a sex offender for 15 years, the maximum punishment for the misdemeanor. He was convicted last fall after he admitted to police that he took photographs of a 10-year-old girl, named in court documents as A.A., in his classroom. He told investigators and the school principal that he was aroused by the girl, especially when she wore black leggings. Leeper, the named plaintiff and a former special victims detective for Lenexa police, testified at Loganbill’s sentencing hearing. She said at the time that her then 9-year-old had been a classmate of A.A.’s and had recently recalled how Loganbill would fist bump the boys in the class, but “would greet her with a hug and run his hand down her back to her buttocks.”
Leeper said at the time that Olathe school officials bore some of the responsibility for Loganbill’s actions, and criticized the district for allowing him to quietly resign. “You all should be ashamed,” she said, adding that Loganbill’s conviction played a role in her personal decision to retire from law enforcement following a 23-year-career. When Loganbill was first arrested, investigators found more than 200 photographs and videos of A.A. on his phone and other electronic devices. He admitted that what he did was “creepy” and “morally wrong,” though denied ever touching A.A. or anyone else inappropriately, according to court papers. The federal lawsuit filed Friday alleges Loganbill also secretly took pictures of H.J. for personal sexual gratification. It also says he touched and hugged her inappropriately, violated appropriate teacher-student boundaries and attempted to “groom her so she would seek his attention.” The lawsuit references the district’s decision to keep Loganbill in classrooms after he was investigated by the district following earlier reports made in 2011. Former students recalled to The Star previously that Loganbill exhibited odd and inappropriate behavior, including leaving “love notes” for one student and coaxing cheerleaders to pose for photographs.
Loganbill was later moved to Meadow Lane Elementary, where the latest allegations arose. “Rather than terminating Mr. Loganbill for engaging in these sexually charged, inappropriate behaviors, Defendant USD 233 merely moved him to Meadow Lane Elementary to teach fourth grade at that school,” the complaint says. “Accordingly, Defendant USD 233 showed a complete indifference to its employee’s sexual harassment and sexually charged, inappropriate behaviors towards its students and the hostile environment that created.” The sexual harassment denied H.J. equal access to educational opportunities, a violation of Title IX, the complaint alleges. She also suffered mental pain and emotional distress, including anxiety and depression, the complaint says. Mike Meyer, Leeper’s attorney, said schools need to protect children. “Here, the school district knew about this teacher’s history and it chose to do nothing,” he said in an email to The Star. “As a result, this teacher was allowed to abuse our client for his own personal, sexual gratification.”
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages from the district. If successful, the lawsuit would mark the second time the district has paid a claim related to Loganbill’s behavior with students. In May, the Olathe district quietly settled a lawsuit threatened by A.A.’s family with a $295,000 payout. The parents agreed not to publicly acknowledge the existence of the settlement or discuss any allegations in the lawsuit, and the district admitted no wrongdoing.
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