HOUSTON (CN) – A girl who was sexually abused by her high school dance coach waited too long to sue the female coach, a federal judge ruled, dismissing the case but suggesting she take it to state court.
Amanda Feenstra was sentenced in 2013 to 10 years probation after admitting she had sex with Alma White for two years, from spring 2009 when White was 16, until she graduated from Humble High School in 2011.
White and her mother, Mary King-White, sued the suburban Houston school district, Feenstra and six school officials, claiming they turned a blind eye to Feenstra’s obsession with White.
White was named captain of the dance team in 2009, responsible for working out new routines with Feenstra, then 30, the newly hired dance coach.
White says Feenstra persuaded her mother to let her move in with Feenstra and her then-husband, claiming it “would allow A.W. to work on dance routines with Feenstra, help develop A.W.’s leadership skills, and help Feenstra mold A.W. for college.”
White goes by A.W. in the federal case, but used her full name in a state court lawsuit she filed against her coach’s husband, Jeremiah Feenstra, in April this year. Her attorney in both cases is Aubrey Pittman of Dallas.
White is now a University of Houston student who has trust issues and sees counselors to deal with what Feenstra put her through, Pittman said in an interview about the Jeremiah Feenstra case.
The Feenstras are now divorced.
White claims in the federal suit that after she moved into Feenstra’s house the dance coach turned her into a “sex slave.”
Feenstra took to dry humping White and progressed to performing cunnilingus and using dildos on her at home when her husband was out of town, in her school office and on road trips, while constantly telling the girl she loved her, according to the lawsuit.
White claimed Feenstra began stalking her after she graduated in 2011, leading the teen to tell a former dance instructor about the relationship.
The instructor alerted school officials and Feenstra was arrested.
White and her mother sought damages for violations of Title IX, civil rights, sexual assault, gross negligence and other claims under state law. Title IX prohibits federally funded schools from engaging in gender discrimination.
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake dismissed the claims against the school district and officials in June 2014, leaving Amanda Feenstra as the only defendant.
Lake dismissed the Title IX claims against Feenstra on Monday, writing: “Plaintiffs do not dispute defendant’s contention that Title IX claims asserted against individuals are not actionable. Therefore, Feenstra is entitled to dismissal.”
Lake also tossed the civil rights claims as time-barred and declined to exercise jurisdiction over the state claims, which he dismissed without prejudice.
The judge advised White to pursue the case in state court: “The already completed discovery should be largely usable in the state proceeding,” he wrote in a 23-page order.
Pittman said White intends to take the judge’s advice.
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