FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (CN) - A former middle school principal sexually assaulted a boy repeatedly in his office, the boy's mother claims in court.
John and Jane Doe sued former principal David Edwards and the Cumberland County Board of Education, alleging false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery. The assaults took place at Ramsey Street Middle School and Douglas Byrd Middle School, according to the lawsuit in Cumberland County Court.
Edwards was arrested in October 2013 and charged with eight sex crimes, according to the Fayetteville ABC News station WTVD. WTVD reported that there were at least three "alleged victims" and that the assaults took place at the two middle schools John Doe attended. "On at least one occasion, the crimes were committed while a parent unknowingly sat in a waiting area in the office of the school," the news station reported.
In their lawsuit, the Does say they were called to the principal's office for a meeting in 2009 to discuss the boy's repeating a portion of the seventh grade.
"At the conclusion of this meeting, defendant Edwards asked to speak with plaintiff 'man to man.' Plaintiff's mother excused herself from the room and at that time, defendant Edwards sexually assaulted the plaintiff," the complaint states.
It adds: "Defendant Edwards continued to sexually assault plaintiff."
The Does say the sexual assaults continued after both the boy and Edwards were transferred to Douglas Byrd Middle School.
"In January 2013, after struggling academically for several years, plaintiff told his parents about the sexual assaults," the complaint states. "Plaintiff's mother immediately contacted authorities and an investigation led to the arrest of defendant Edwards."
The Cumberland County Board of Education is culpable, too, the family claims.
They claim a colleague of Edwards, who was hired as principal at Ramsey Street Middle School in 2005, reported to the assistant superintendent that "defendant Edwards exhibited behavior patterns of having young boys in his office, behind closed doors and without any other adult present, on a daily basis over a period of years, during the school year, during school hours, after school hours, and during the summer time."
The complaint states: "During those years prior to and up to 2007, non-student young males visited with defendant Edwards for no apparent business or educational purpose[;] these males would spend entire days at school with defendant Edwards, sometimes behind closed doors with no other adult present.
"During those years prior to and up to 2007, a young male who worked as a 'wrap around' at the school alleged that defendant Edwards touched him in a sexually inappropriate manner."
The Does also accuse Edwards of having inappropriate relationships with male interns.
Despite the colleague's concern, assistant superintendent Ron Alexander "did not investigate the complaints but instead allowed defendant Edwards continue to work as he had been working, and to maintain the same behavior he had been maintaining," according to the complaint.
Alexander is not a party to the case.
The Does seek compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $10,000 to be determined at trial.
They are represented by Kevin Ginsberg of Lanier Law Group in Jamestown, N.C.
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