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Examiner
  • Victim's parents sue ex-teacher

  • The parents of a student who was sexually abused by Grain Valley teacher Matthew Nelson have filed a civil lawsuit on her behalf.

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  • The parents of a student who was sexually abused by Grain Valley teacher Matthew Nelson have filed a civil lawsuit on her behalf.
    The complaint was filed Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court. It alleges 11 causes of action against Nelson, who was the girl’s second grade teacher at Prairie Branch Elementary at the time. In addition, the Grain Valley School, Superintendent Roy Moss, Brad Welle, assistant superintendent for academic and student services, Marc Snow, former principal of Prairie Branch and current assistant superintendent of finance and support services and James Pinney, the current Prairie Branch principal, are named in the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, these people knew about abuse allegations as early as the 2005-06 school year and failed to take action against Nelson, allowing him to remain in the position. This went as far as having a discussion with Nelson about “inappropriate contact,” but they did not investigate further, punish or terminate Nelson.
    Nelson, a former Teacher of the Year who taught in Grain Valley for 10 years, pleaded guilty March 13 to sexually abusing 11 boys. The plea agreement included 15 years in prison on each of the 15 counts. In addition, he would serve seven years on a 16th count. All of the sentences would run concurrently. Sentencing is scheduled for April 25.
    According to the lawsuit, the abuse happened in Nelson’s classroom and in other locations on school property during the 2011-12 school year when the victim, referred to only as Jane Doe, was 7 years old. The causes of action listed include negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision, negligent retention, negligence per se, civil assault and battery, violation of the state childhood sexual abuse statute and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The parents are listed in the lawsuit as Mary and John Doe.
    The complaint points to intimidation, manipulation and harassment on the part of Nelson, which was caused by both his words and action. He also allegedly presented the victim’s family with gifts including food and clothing. The lawsuit alleges that Nelson began an “ongoing, repeated and continuous practice of fondling, holding, kissing and otherwise inappropriately touching and assaulting” the victim. As a result of the abuse, the complaint states that the victim has had trouble with “chronic wetting of the bed, inappropriate and harmful thoughts, loss of sleep, rage, sadness, depression, lack of trust and feeling of security and safety around adults,” among others. This includes an incident of the victim tying a rope around her neck and tightening it.
    The family is requesting a jury trial and is seeking actual and punitive damages.
     
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