ORANGE, Texas (CN) - Texas school districts silently passed along a "serial predator" teacher, allowing him to have sex with a girl in and out of the classroom at his final school, the girl claims in court.
Jenny Doe sued the Orangefield Independent School District, the Port Arthur Independent School District and her former teacher Kip Eric McFarlin, in Orange County District Court.
Doe claims she was 16 when McFarlin had sex with her while he was her science teacher at Memorial High School in Port Arthur, before the discovery of texts and Facebook messages "brought (his) abuse to an end."
McFarlin, 41, is awaiting trial on felony charges of sexual intercourse with a child, Doe says in the complaint.
Doe blames the school districts for not stopping McFarlin long before he got to her.
"McFarlin is a serial predator with a long history of sexual harassment and abuse of students at Southeast Texas schools," the complaint states. "Unfortunately, instead of stopping his deviant behavior, school districts simply passed him on to another district when the allegations of abuse became too strong for him to remain at the school. In fact, defendant Orangefield actually concealed McFarlin's behavior from an inquiring school district, and lied to the district in order to cover up McFarlin's abuses.
"This lawsuit is brought in part to halt the disgusting 'trend' of child abuse in Southeast Texas schools, and the perverse school district culture of aiding and abetting those who abuse."
The trend is not confined to Texas. School districts across the United States face similar lawsuits. It is customary for school administrators to pass along suspected sexual predators for fear of the bad publicity the revelations would cause.
One attorney who was aware of such a case commented: "Ruining someone's career is actionable. Failing to ruin someone's career is less actionable."
In her complaint, Doe claims that McFarlin's inappropriate behavior goes back to the mid-'90s when he taught at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School in Orange.
"When the indictment of McFarlin for sexually abusing Jenny was reported, a former student of McFarlin's at Little Cypress-Mauriceville revealed that McFarlin sexually harassed numerous girls in her class during the lessons," the complaint states.
"She disclosed that McFarlin would tell the girls about the size of his penis and offer to take them out 'and show them the real world.' Further, she relayed that she witnessed McFarlin having sexual intercourse with her friend - a fellow classmate and student of McFarlin's - on the high school campus. She stated that McFarlin's behavior was well known at the school."
McFarlin went on to teach and coach for the Nederland Independent School District from July 1997 to May 2004, until he resigned due to allegations that he "was making 'inappropriate comments about his 'sex life' to students," Doe says in the complaint.
"McFarlin was then hired by the Orangefield Independent School District, which is adjacent to Nederland. McFarlin's brother-in-law at the time was a coach at Orangefield, and this connection is why McFarlin was provided a job. Orangefield testified in a pre-suit deposition that had it known about the Nederland complaints, it would not have hired McFarlin," the complaint states.