DALLAS, Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Following nine weeks of testimony in a packed Dallas courtroom, a six-person jury has awarded a $9.3 million verdict against the Episcopal School of Dallas based on evidence that officials from the prominent private school wrongly expelled a minor female student after discovering that a teacher had involved her in a sexual relationship.
"This case always has been about a betrayal of trust, plain and simple," says attorney Charla Aldous of the Dallas-based Aldous Law Firm, who along with Brent Walker and Cyndy Goosen represented the family of the student, referred to as "Jane Doe II" during the trial. "First, my client was betrayed by her teacher and then she was betrayed by the only school she had ever known."
The all-female jury delivered the verdict in Judge D'Metria Benson's County Court-at-Law No. 1 in Dallas. The verdict includes $8.6 million in compensatory damages and another $700,000 in punitive damages, which the jurors assessed after finding that the school had been grossly negligent in handling the situation.
During the trial, jurors heard testimony that history teacher Nathan Campbell began the process of "grooming" the student during tutoring sessions after she fell behind in his class. The teacher was 34 years old, and the student was 16 when the first sexual encounter occurred. The relationship was exposed when a police patrolman found the pair together in a parked car on November 29, 2009. Campbell, who was married at the time, was allowed to resign a few days later and currently is awaiting trial on criminal charges of sexual assault of a child and improper relationship with a student.
When the details of the relationship were disclosed, ESD officials promised the student that she would not be held responsible and that her privacy would be protected. However, a few weeks later, on Jan. 27, 2010, school officials, including the Chief Academic Officer and the Head of the Upper School, met with the girl's father and gave him the ultimatum to either withdraw his daughter from the school voluntarily or have her expelled, an event that would have remained on her school record permanently.
"ESD may be viewed by some as one of Dallas' top college prep schools, but it failed this student at every turn. The school failed to perform appropriate background checks on Nathan Campbell and failed to properly monitor the teacher's use of school property including an ESD credit card and ESD-owned cell phone, either of which would have unquestionably raised red flags," says Aldous. "And more troubling, when faced with the uncomfortable reality of what happened, the administration abdicated all responsibility as the spiritual and educational bedrock for this girl, casting her out of their halls with the hopes that she and the entire matter would be 'out of sight, out of mind.'"
The Aldous Law Firm represents clients in general civil litigation, personal injury, medical malpractice, products liability and wrongful death lawsuits. More information about the firm can be found at http://www.aldouslaw.com.
For more information on the verdict in the case involving the Episcopal School of Dallas, please contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE Aldous Law Firm