Wednesday, October 3, 2012
PERRYDALE -- Perrydale School District has been named a defendant in a multimillion-dollar sex abuse lawsuit filed in The Dalles on Friday.
According to the complaint, Angela Lindell, a former part-time employee and/or volunteer coach for Perrydale High's girls basketball team in 2008-09, was accused back then of an "inappropriate relationship with a minor male student" and that school officials didn't investigate the matter.
Dufur School District, where Lindell most recently worked, was also named in the case.
The lawsuit was filed in Wasco County Circuit Court by Portland attorney Kelly Clark for the now 18-year-old plaintiff and victim of a separate incident at Dufur High.
"We have alleged that Dufur School District was negligent in failing to do an adequate background check on Lindell and that Perrydale failed to report Lindell to the state teaching authorities with information that she had acted inappropriately with students there, as well," Clark said in a statement.
The plaintiff is seeking $3.6 million in noneconomic damages -- $1.8 million from each of the districts -- and $200,000 in economic damages.
Lindell worked as an assistant basketball coach at Dufur High between 2009 and 2011 and became acquainted with the victim, according to the lawsuit. In late 2010, she started a sexual relationship with the boy.
"At the time of the abuse, the plaintiff did not comprehend the abusive nature of Lindell's actions due to the admiration, respect and esteem which the plaintiff had for Lindell," according to the lawsuit.
Lindell was investigated by Wasco County law enforcement in 2011. It was then that the alleged wrongdoing involving a separate student at Perrydale resurfaced, Clark said during a phone interview.
Lindell pled guilty in Wasco County Circuit Court to three counts of sexual harassment and one count of contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor in April for having sex with three teenage males at Dufur High between 2010 and 2011.
She was sentenced to five years probation and mandatory registration as a sex offender for 10 years.
The civil case alleges that while Lindell was at Perrydale, the district received notice of a rumored inappropriate relationship with a minor male student and did not conduct an investigation.
Also in the filing: "No one reported the suspected abuse to state licensing authorities, the Department of Human Services, and or law enforcement. Lindell left Perrydale after becoming aware of the allegations."
The abuse in Dufur might have been prevented had Perrydale taken action in the first place, the lawsuit said.
Robin Stoutt, Perrydale superintendent, said on Monday that the district had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment. She referred questions to the Special Districts Association of Oregon, Perrydale's claims administrator.
Jens Jensen, SDAO property casualty manager, said the organization was "somewhat aware" of the complaint, but hadn't been formally served yet. An investigation will take place, he said.