Family Says School Passed Along a Predator

     SHERMAN, Texas (CN) – While a high school choir teacher seduced and infected a student, administrators ignored flaming warning signs and let him “quietly” move on to another school, the girl’s family claims in court.
     Jane Doe and her parents Dennis and Linda Mason sued Denton Independent School District and her alleged seducer, Michael Pricer, in Federal Court.
     They also sued Barbara Fischer, principal of Guyer High School; and Jamie Wilson, Denton school superintendent, who was assistant superintendent at the time of the events in the complaint.
     Doe claims Pricer seduced her and infected her with human papilloma virus while she was a senior at Guyer High School, during the 2010-2011 school year.
     The family claims the school district and its officials ignored the obvious warning signs and failed to enforce their own policies, allowing Pricer to “groom” Doe and lure her into a sexual affair.
     Pricer took Doe to dinner alone, let her sit on his desk and touched her inappropriately at school, classic predatory misconduct, but school officials ignored and covered up his actions, the complaint states.
     “Starting in the fall of 2010, Pricer began to groom two female students in his choir class, Doe and Doe 2 (the true names of witnesses are excluded to protect the privacy of those students),” the complaint states. “Pricer started by befriending these two girls, taking them to dinner and then to high school football games. In this semester, rumors began flying around the student body that something was going on between Pricer and Doe and Doe 2.
     “During the school year, Pricer continued to groom Doe by encouraging and seducing Doe and Doe 2 to dress him in women’s clothing on one occasion, and into meeting him in the choir room office during school hours where he had set the stage for the girls to wash his hair and give him a shave. This highly inappropriate and suspicious behavior went unchecked and unabated by DISD officials, despite numerous warning signs.
     “In March 2011, Pricer began to increase his efforts to seduce Doe. On March 5, 2011, after Doe attended a community choir event, Pricer then took Doe, alone, to McKenna Park in Denton, Texas, where they sat, talked, and held hands while Pricer caressed Doe’s face.
     “During spring break of 2011, the Denton choir took a school-sponsored trip to Ireland, which Pricer and Doe were both on. During this trip, students and chaperones noticed Pricer’s efforts at physical contact with Doe and his attempts to separate Doe from his other potential targets. Pricer openly showed his affection for Doe by holding her hand while strolling the city streets, allowing Doe to snuggle with him, and purchasing a necklace for Doe, which Doe wore throughout the entire trip.
     “Pricer’s actions were so blatant that students and chaperons took notice. One student, Doe 3, noticed Pricer holding Doe’s hand and told her friends on the trip. Another student and friend of Doe’s, Doe 4, noticed the inappropriate behavior and asked Doe about it. During the course of that conversation, Doe 4 asked Doe whether Pricer had kissed her. At that time, Doe’s response was, ‘No.’
     “Incredibly however, not a single school official or chaperone reported any of this behavior to any other school authorities, nor investigated Pricer’s inappropriate, and openly predatory behavior.” (Parentheses in complaint).
     The family claims Pricer continued to pursue Doe, and kissed her after they returned from Ireland.
     “After this fateful night, Doe sent a text message to her friend, Doe 4, stating, ‘that thing that was a no is now a yes,'” according to the complaint. “Even as a student and a minor, Doe 4 knew that the inappropriate relationship was not right and went to the principal, Barbara Fischer (‘Fischer’), and showed Fischer the text message.”
     Fischer asked Pricer about his relationship with Doe and he denied it, but Fischer told him to stay away from Doe, according to the complaint.
     The Masons say Fischer talked to them about their daughter and Pricer, but assured them “she had looked into it and that there wasn’t anything to the rumor.”
     They claim Fischer never checked any text messages between their daughter and Pricer, failed to investigate further, and did not report Pricer to the authorities, allowing the relationship to continue.
     “After March 23, 2011, with the information in hand that Pricer was pursuing Doe, Fischer and other school officials failed to issue any oral or written warnings to Doe’s other teachers about the dangerous relationship,” the complaint states. “Pricer easily violated Fischer’s directives about being alone with Doe by sending notes to Doe’s other teachers to release Doe to the choir room. Amazingly, Doe’s other teachers would release Doe to the choir room without a single question or thought. Doe’s teachers knew there was something going on because Doe would return from Pricer’s room or the counselor’s office in tears. This continued for months.
     “Under the ‘protection’ of Denton ISD’s lack of oversight, Pricer began escalating his physical contact with Doe by sexually groping Doe on school grounds and in other public locations (like Eureka Park, McKenna Park, or other locations around the school). In furtherance of his grooming techniques, Pricer broke down whatever resolve Doe had left by telling Doe that he ‘was separating from his wife,’ ‘this was meant to be,’ and ‘we are destined to be with one another.’
     “On prom night, May 14, 2011, Pricer took Doe on a ‘date’ camping, out of reach of any authority. It was here, in the secluded campsite, that Pricer forever took Doe’s virginity and her innocence. After this ‘date’, Pricer’s illicit texts and sexual advances continued unabated, including multiple instances of sexual intercourse.”
     Concerned students and their parents complained to Fischer and Wilson, who failed to investigate or contact Doe’s parents, according to the complaint.
     The family claims that Pricer continued his relationship with their daughter after she graduated. They say school officials verified rumors that Pricer’s car was parked outside the Mason house frequently, but took no steps to report him to the authorities or inform her parents.
     After Pricer resigned in September 2011, the district “allowed Pricer to quietly proceed to the Irving Independent School District to continue his predatory practices on other unsuspecting children,” the complaint states.
     The Masons claim Pricer had sex with their daughter at least 20 times, and gave her human papilloma virus, which can cause cervical cancer and infertility.
     The Masons say the district finally reported Pricer to authorities in July 2012, after their daughter told her parents about her illegal relationship with the teacher. Pricer was arrested in January on charges of improper relationship between an educator and a student, according to the complaint.
     The family claims the district continues to encourage sexual predators by ignoring U.S. Department of Education rules and its own policies.
     They seek compensatory and punitive damages for civil rights violations.
     They are represented by Andrew Christman with Christman Kelley & Clarke, of Highland Village.

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