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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Parents Say Teacher Was a Predator

SEATTLE (CN) - Parents say their depressed son sought tutoring and counseling from his high school math teacher and she responded by sexually fondling him in her classroom, driving him to buy marijuana, giving him a blow job, and pursuing him sexually in person, by phone and on the Internet.

The parents say their son, a junior at Kentlake High School, was "suffering from major depression and was in a vulnerable state, emotionally and mentally," when he asked his married 36-year-old math teacher, Barbara Anderson, for tutoring and counseling.

"Instead of providing help to [their son], Anderson initiated, encouraged and engaged in a series of increasingly sexually aggressive acts toward [him], taking advantage of his youth and psychological condition, which was wrongful and unlawful," the complaint states. "The wrongful acts began with flirtations, teasing, and seductive behaviors, and escalated to initiating and pursuing numerous sexually charged contacts with him via Facebook, texting and telephone calls, and explicit sexual comments with sexual innuendo and undertones.

"Anderson escalated her pursuit, including requesting [him to] meet with her away from campus at a local restaurant. [The boy] raised his personal depression and issues, but Anderson turned the discussion to the potential sexual contact between them. She made statements that she knew it was wrong and feared getting caught which, she said, made it even more exciting. She hugged and kissed him."

The parents say their son told Anderson he was suicidal, and described "specific examples of the ways that he could take his own life," but that Anderson failed to tell them and kept pursuing a sexual relationship with the teen-ager. They say she sent him a "sexually charged and partially clad self photograph by email" and warned him to delete the picture and all other communications from her.

The parents say that school administrators knew Anderson was sending the student an "usually excessive number of text messages," but took no action even after Anderson "admitted to the administrators that she kept [the boy] in her classroom instead of sending him to his class."

The complaint adds: "The administrators at Kentlake High School took no steps to determine the nature and extent of these contacts by Anderson, they did not make any inquiries of Anderson, did not initiate any investigative steps, and did not take any action to intercede or to aid [the boy].

"Thereafter, Anderson engaged in behaviors in the presence of school administrators which were indicative of inappropriate conduct, breach of personal boundaries, and excessive personal and intimate knowledge regarding [the boy]. Despite this increasing knowledge, the administrators at Kentlake High School continued to take no steps to determine the nature and extent of Anderson's contacts with [him], did not make inquiries of Anderson or initiate any investigative steps, and took no effective action to intercede or aid [the boy].

"Anderson continued to pursue [him] and continued to contact him through social media and by telephone. At her suggestion, she picked him up secretly at night and drove him to buy marijuana. She stated she was attracted to him.

"Anderson's escalating behavior continued. She called him to her classroom, touched and rubbed his penis. She stated she was fantasizing about him. She persuaded him to meet with her late one night, believed to be on or about February 12th or shortly thereafter. [He] began discussing his personal problems, and Anderson began touching him and kissing him. It escalated and she performed oral sex.

"Anderson continued to pursue him expressly seeking further sexual contact and intercourse, stating she wanted to be pleasured and it was her turn. [He] stopped responding to her contacts and requests, upset that she turned his psychological distress into sexual contacts."

Eventually, Anderson was arrested and pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor. She is serving an 8-month jail sentence.

The parents say that after Anderson was arrested, students and school personnel "harassed, retaliated against, and intimidated [their son] during school hours on school premises, and on social media networking sites," but the Kent School District failed to protect him.

The parents seek damages from Anderson and her husband and from Kent School District No. 415, for emotional distress to themselves and their son. They also seek an injunction compelling the school district to enforce anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies.

The family is represented by Victoria Vreeland, with Gordon Thomas Honeywell.

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