A former Lone Jack School District superintendent is accused in a lawsuit of being a sexual predator who used his position to identify vulnerable students while other administrators turned a blind eye.


The lawsuit filed last week in federal court on behalf of a former student alleges that former Lone Jack Superintendent Matthew Tarwater employed emotionally and psychologically abusive behaviors starting when the student was a high school sophomore. The suit said Tarwater eventually had sex with the former student when she turned 21 but that the sex wasn't consensual because she "had been subjected to years of predatory sexual grooming."


No criminal charges have been filed against against Tarwater. No attorney is listed for him in online court records, and he doesn't have a listed phone number.


The suit alleges that officials at the district deliberately failed to investigate or take action amid reports and complaints about Tarwater's "creepy conduct toward certain female students, which brazenly violated school policies."


Before he stepped down last year, Tarwater allegedly groomed another Lone Jack High School student for sex, the suit said.


Kathy Butler, who replaced Tarwarter on an interim basis, denied accusations that district leadership knew of Tarwater's alleged conduct in a written statement that she sent to The Kansas City Star. She didn't immediately respond to a phone message from The Associated Press.


The suit says that before coming to the Lone Jack district, Tarwater resigned from the Harrisonville School District, where he taught middle school history and coached eighth-grade girls basketball. Because he left midyear, he had to pay a $6,000 penalty. The suit said it wasn't clear why he left, and the district didn't immediately return a phone message from the AP.


He started out as a principal at Lone Jack High School, despite having no prior administrative experience, and later was named superintendent, the suit said.


The suit said he left the Lone Jack district late last year after he was provided a seven-day option to resign in lieu of being fired as a result of the plaintiff's allegations.