Saturday, January 3, 2004

School district sued over abuse


Ex-coordinator was convicted

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WILLIAMSTOWN - The parents of two teenage boys who had a sexual affair with their school's drop-out prevention coordinator have sued the Grant County school district, claiming it failed to protect their children.

The civil suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Covington, alleges the district hired the coordinator knowing she didn't have the proper training, was made aware the coordinator might be having inappropriate relations with students and failed to investigate those concerns.

"Because the school failed to investigate, these two minors were subjected to further injury," said the plaintiffs' attorney, Don Nageleisen of Covington.

Attorney Don Ruberg, who represents the school district, declined to comment on the suit. Other officials couldn't be reached for comment.

In September the former coordinator, Sheliah M. Cull, pleaded guilty in Grant Circuit Court to four counts of sodomy and one count of rape.

The 32-year-old Dry Ridge woman's 31/2-year sentence was set aside under the condition she attend sex-offender treatment, avoid contract with the boys and register with Kentucky's sexual offenders list.

The students were 14 and 15 at the time of the affairs.

The plaintiffs also allege sexual harassment, stating that Cull called one boy at least 115 times and the other boy 96 times from July 2002 through April 2003.

The complaint claims that Cull gave the boys gifts, including giving one of them underwear with the phrases "well hung" and "in heat" printed on the garments. A state police investigation that led to Cull's conviction also concluded she had given one of the boys underwear with sexually explicit phases printed on them.

Defendants in the civil suit include Cull, the school district and Grant County Middle School Principal Ronald Livingood.

The complaint contends that Cull was not qualified for the job. Nageleisen said Cull had no experience at the time she was hired and was given no training by the district. Cull is the daughter-in-law of the secretary for Livingood, according to the suit.

Cull didn't return a phone call left Friday at her home.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com




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