SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A lawsuit has been filed against Springfield Public Schools for $5 million by a former A3 student.
This student said while she was attending the Academy of Arts and Academics, she was also being sexually abused by former principal, Michael Fisher.
The former student is remaining anonymous for the time being. She said she was befriended, groomed, and sexually abused by Fisher for four years. It began in 2006 when she was 14, and continued until 2010.
However, she’s not just seeking justice for the abuse itself. She said the district knew about the relationship and took no action to stop it.
In 2007, a teacher from Walterville Elementary School reported to the district that Fisher had been giving the alleged victim rides home from school. This teacher also said they had been seen in public holding hands, and that the alleged victim had been spotted putting her hand on Fisher’s leg in class.
The lawsuit claims that when the abuse was reported, Nancy Golden, the superintendent at the time, asked Roger Jordan, the HR director at the time, not to investigate it further. Instead, Fisher was given a Letter of Instruction/Direction reminding him of the district’s transportation policy and telling him to stay in public spaces with students. The student was never interviewed, her parents were never notified, and no further action was taken to enforce the Letter.
"This is a really big deal. This is outrageous conduct and outrageous failures of the system, but, ultimately, it's up to a jury to decide," said Barbara Long, a partner at Vogt & Long, and an attorney handling this case.
The alleged victim said she was hurt when she found out the district had been in the know all that time ago. She said she feels if proper channels had been taken, the abuse could have stopped then and there, instead of continuing for three more years.
"She learned that after all of these years of trying to protect a school that she really loved, that that school wasn't protecting her," said Long. "And I think she's slowly starting to realize just how damaged she's been by this."
The former student’s lawyers said her goal with this suit is about so much more than justice for herself. She wants to see teachers and staff in the district receiving the proper training to be able to properly report and spot abuse. She wants to make sure policies are in place and that they have to be followed, so no other student has to endure something like this.
The alleged victim is suing Springfield Public Schools, but she’s also suing Nancy Golden and Roger Jordan. Her lawyers said it’s because they were higher-ups in the district that should have made sure this was taken care of.