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Girl Claims Schools Passed Predator Along

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.


"For two years Orangefield employed McFarlin as a teacher and coach at its high school. One year after being hired, McFarlin was accused of acting unprofessionally with and making inappropriate sexual remarks towards female students. Orangefield suspended McFarlin with pay as a result of these allegations. Orangefield ultimately reinstated him, however, when a student close to McFarlin told the district the other students' accusations were untrue.

"Roughly six months after being reinstated, McFarlin was reported to school officials for imminent sexual abuse of a female student. This time, a fellow teacher was notified that McFarlin was staying in town with the student for the holiday weekend to have sex. It turns out that this student was the same one McFarlin used to discredit the previous girls' allegations of misconduct against him. In effect, McFarlin was using one child, whom he was sexually abusing or preparing to abuse, to discredit the other children who complained of his sexual advances.

"McFarlin was turned in to the administration, and instead of starting a termination procedure (a process that involves a hearing and option to appeal), then-Superintendent Mike Gentry ordered McFarlin to resign without delay. This order was a deal with McFarlin: Resign now and the matter will not be spoken of again.

"It was intended to, and did, prevent the latest sexual abuse allegation against McFarlin from being documented, reported, or made public. And it also allowed McFarlin to apply to another school district without having to explain a termination from Orangefield. Not surprisingly, McFarlin resigned that afternoon."

Gentry is not a party to the complaint.

Doe claims Orangefield ISD not only failed to notify law enforcement about McFarlin, it lied to the Port Arthur ISD that he had resigned "because of a divorce in the family."

Doe claims that after McFarlin resigned from Orangefield ISD he took "'cooling off' jobs" at a car dealership and at an all-male juvenile prison in Beaumont, "until the talk of his reputation died down."

But she says, "Less than two years after leaving Orangefield, McFarlin was hired by Port Arthur ISD, a neighboring school district, as a teacher and coach at Memorial High School."

Doe claims that Port Arthur ISD's personnel director testified that "when he contacted Orangefield regarding McFarlin, Orangefield informed him that it had no concerns regarding McFarlin ... [that] during that conversation, Orangefield informed him that McFarlin resigned because of a divorce in the family; and [that] ... had he been provided with notice of this suspension at Orangefield, he would not have hired McFarlin - in order to protect the Port Arthur students."

Doe says she transferred to Memorial High School in 2011 and did not know anyone at the school.

"McFarlin was her science teacher," the complaint states. "Her academic performance, as well as her shyness, were well above average. McFarlin recognized these traits in Jenny, and used them to his advantage. Soon after the semester started, McFarlin told Jenny to 'private message him' on Facebook should she need anything.

"Knowing McFarlin was a football coach, Jenny sent him a Facebook message wishing the team good luck before the first game of the season. McFarlin responded quickly, doting [sic] compliments on her. Within hours, his messages to her turned sexual, with him talking about masturbation. He sent her his cell phone number and convinced her to do the same."

His compliments about her clothes and jewelry soon progressed to touching her legs, Doe claims.

"Outside of school, he would send her Facebook messages and texts, and even came by her house to visit when she was at home with an illness," the complaint states.

"During a school holiday in September, McFarlin asked Jenny to go with him to Pleasure Island - a spit of land in Port Arthur with a golf course and other outdoor activities. While parked in the Pleasure Island parking lot, McFarlin began fondling her.

"McFarlin's grooming of Jenny ultimately 'paid off' when he convinced her to have sexual intercourse with him. On October 3, 2011, McFarlin took Jenny back to the Pleasure Island parking lot, where he had sex with her in his truck. He gave her a teddy bear as well as a card, and told her to think of October 3 as their 'first date.'

"Over the next several months, McFarlin sexually abused Jenny numerous times. He would remove Jenny from her second period classes and sexually abuse her in his empty classroom. On one occasion he even took her to the football locker rooms to have sex with her. McFarlin told Jenny to think of him as her boyfriend, and told her not to worry about the difference in their ages.

"A third party's discovery of the texts and Facebook messages is what finally brought McFarlin's abuse to an end. When discovered, Jenny's family immediately contacted local law enforcement and Port Arthur. McFarlin was placed on administrative leave with pay by the school district, but yet again resigned without being terminated.

"As a result of his sexual abuse of Jenny, McFarlin has been indicted in Jefferson County for sexual assault (sexual intercourse with a child) and improper relationship between educator and student - both second-degree felonies. He is awaiting trial.

"Since the incident, Jenny and her family have moved out of the Port Arthur area and are attempting to rebuild their lives."

Doe seeks punitive damages from the school districts for civil rights violations, and from McFarlin for assault and battery.

She is represented by Jack McGehee with McGehee Chang Barnes of Houston.

Follow @cam_langford
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