An Oklahoma school district has paid $125,000 to a family after Jennifer Caswell, a former middle school English teacher, was sentenced to ten years in prison for having sex with an eighth-grade student in her classroom.
Caswell, 31, publicly admitted to having a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old boy. In May 2015, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The settlement comes after the boy’s father filed a lawsuit alleging that Hollis Middle School played a part in covering up Caswell’s crime. The father claims that the school forced his son to keep his mouth shut.
The family and the boy have not been identified because the boy was a minor and a victim of a sex crime. Caswell, who was formerly known by her married name Saxton, told Dr. Phil ‘I didn’t force anything. I didn’t manipulate. I didn’t take advantage.’
via The Oklahoman:
Hollis Public Schools agreed to pay $125,000 to settle claims that the school participated in covering up Caswell’s sexual abuse, said Charles Watts, an attorney for the victim’s family.
The student’s father sued Caswell, Hollis schools and several school district officials in 2015. The father claimed in a federal lawsuit that his son’s grades and extracurricular activities suffered as a result of the abuse. The student also experienced emotional distress and humiliation when his peers found out, the lawsuit stated.
In a sworn deposition, the father testified that high school Principal Marty Webb accused his son of lying and told him his son “needed to keep his mouth closed” when rumors began to spread about Caswell’s relationship with the boy.
Furthermore, the boy’s father claimed school district officials allowed Caswell to resign while keeping her teaching credentials.
In May of 2015, Harmon County District Judge Richard Darby sentenced Caswell to 15 years in prison, with five years suspended. Caswell, who is the mother of a 6-year-old son, will become eligible for parole in six and a half years.