GALLIA COUNTY, OH (WOWK) — The Superintendent of Gallia County Local Schools says the district is aware of a lawsuit against them regarding alleged sexual abuse.
Superintendent Phillip Kuhn said in a statement to 13 News, “The Gallia Co. Local School District is aware of the lawsuit filed against the District and multiple individual employees who were employed within the 2004-2019 timeframe. The District has taken these allegations very seriously and have worked with law enforcement throughout the investigation of these claims. We will continue to make the safety of our students and staff a priority throughout this process. Because of the pending litigation, the District cannot comment on specific allegations asserted in the Complaint.”
The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 20, 2023, on behalf of a plaintiff listed as John Doe, for allegedly failing to report the sexual abuse of students at River Valley High School.
The suit stems from sexual misconduct charges against a former cheerleading coach and substitute teacher at RVHS. In August 2023, The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office said Michal “Paige” Huck was indicted on Aug. 9, 2023, on six counts of third-degree unlawful sexual misconduct with a minor. Deputies alleged the misconduct occurred with teenagers between the ages of 13 and 16, between 2003 and 2016.
If convicted of the criminal charges, Huck could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison, be fined up to $60,000, and be registered as a sex offender for 25 years.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants are being sued for “deliberate indifference, failure to investigate and failure to report known sexual abuse” of multiple RVHS students. The suit alleges John Doe and “at least seven other former RVHS students” were “groomed and/or sexually abused by” Michal Paige Huck.
It also accuses her husband, who was also a wrestling coach and teacher, of the alleged “assistance, facilitation and knowledge” of the misconduct. The lawsuit points to instances where Huck’s husband allegedly transported the victims to her home to engage in sexual acts with her. It also accuses him of allegedly groping a student at a “lock-in” event at Huck’s home, claiming nothing was done when the victim reported it to administrators.
The lawsuit claims multiple employees were allegedly aware of instances of abuse and sexual misconduct. According to the lawsuit, multiple instances of alleged sexual abuse were reported by student witnesses and victims over the years, but were never investigated by administration.
According to the lawsuit, Huck was allowed to quietly resign after administrators learned of the alleged sexual misconduct that took place between 2004 and 2008 with no further investigation. She was reportedly banned from RVHS’s campus in 2011, 2016 and in 2019 regarding the allegations. The lawsuit says that despite these bans, she “continued to be present on school property and had ongoing access to RVHS students at wrestling-related events and other extracurricular activities.”
The suit also claims that after a nude photograph of Huck was found on a victim’s cell phone in 2016, that incident was reported to Gallia County Jobs and Family Services, however, during the JFS’s report of the incident, RVHS administrators did not disclose Huck’s alleged history of sexual misconduct. The suit alleged that the JFS had made the superintendent aware of the report. However, according to the suit, “their is no evidence” that the incident was ever referred to local law enforcement, or that the BOE or JFS investigated further.
This is a developing story, and WOWK 13 News will update this article as more details become available.
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