School Turned Blind Eye to Rapist, Teen Says

     BALTIMORE (CN) – A Maryland teenager claims in federal court that a school board never took action against the math teacher who raped her, despite years of complaints.
     The teacher described in the March 17 lawsuit, Bart Alan Mazer, pleaded guilty earlier this month in Cumberland to sex offenses. CBS Baltimore reported that the charges against Mazer involved his conduct with a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old. Mazer, 43, faces the possibility of two years in prison and a $2,000 fine when he is sentenced.
     Describing herself in the complaint only as Jane Doe No. 52, the plaintiff says that the Allegany County Board of Education did not put Mazer on leave until he was brought up on criminal charges last year, after she “built up the courage to disclose her secret.”
     Prior to his 2014 arrest, Mazer had been a math teacher and coach for the boys’ and girls’ track teams at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg, a town in western Maryland.
     Doe says Mazer had built up a reputation for himself in his seven years at the school for being “creepy and overly flirtatious with female students.”
     Though Mazer “frequently served, invited various female students to his house to drink alcohol and had several sexual relationships with minor students,” Doe says Mountain Ridge officials and administrators ignored “this open and notorious grooming behavior.”
     “Mazer was provided unfettered freedom and discretion to sexually harass, groom, and manipulate female students, including Jane Doe,” the complaint states.
     Doe says one teacher witnessed Mazer’s inappropriate behavior as far back as during the 2007-08 school year.
     Mazer allegedly brushed off his colleague’s concerns when confronted, but a student told the same teacher later in spring 2013 that she was “having a romantic relationship with Mazer,” the complaint states.
     When the teacher reported the incident, the principal allegedly told her “not to speak about the situation with anyone else.”
     Doe says the principal “failed to conduct any meaningful investigation” then, and similarly did not take action when two different students complained to him that semester about Mazer’s habit of flirting with female students.
     In one instance, the principal warned the student who complained that she “should not spread rumors,” the complaint states.
     Doe says yet another student reported to the principal that Mazer had touched her buttocks and made a sexual comment to her, and that the principal suspended the girl.
     The school counselor was unhelpful as well, Doe claims, noting that this official told the parent of another student who complained that “Mazer was a dedicated teacher and would not have done anything like this.”
     Doe says Mazer sexually assaulted her during the 2013-14 school year while she was a student in his class. The assaults occurred on school grounds as well as at Mazer’s home, according to the complaint.
     The inappropriate behavior began in September with Mazer telling 17-year-old Doe in school things like, “I tried to control myself,” “I can’t stay away from you,” “You are next in line,” and “I’ve tried to behave, but I can’t,” according to the complaint.
     Once she gave Mazer her phone number, Doe began receiving texting the girl incessantly with messages such as, “You’re so cute,” “You should come over,” “You’re so sexy”, “I can’t even control myself in class” and “We should hang out.”
     One section of the complaint goes into graphic detail about an November 2012 incident in which Doe allegedly went to Mazer’s house and he raped her.
     Doe says Mazer had threatened to hurt someone she loves if she told anyone what happened. With this threat looming over, Doe went to Mazer’s house again and was “violated” again, according to the complaint.
     By the time Doe revealed Mazer’s abuse in September 2014, she was overcome with depression and anxiety, and her grades had plummeted, according to the complaint. Doe seeks punitive damages from the school board for negligence and violations of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sexual discrimination in education.
     She is represented by Jeffrey Herman, of Herman Law in Boca Raton, Fla.
     Attorneys for both parties did not return calls seeking comment.

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