Lawsuit Over Student, Teacher Relationship at Episcopal School of Dallas Now Federal Case

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Exactly one year ago, parents of a former student at Episcopal School of Dallas sued the private school for unspecified damages, insisting it should have known about -- and stopped -- teacher Nathan Campbell's advances and ultimately sexual relationship with their daughter, who was 16 at the time. The parents also alleged that the school forced their daughter, whose grandfather is an Episcopal priest, out of ESD by making her sign a voluntary withdrawal form under the threat of expulsion: "Instead of nurturing the Victim and helping her recover, ESD betrayed her yet again by constructively expelling her from the school for being a victim of the very sexual abuse ESD permitted," alleges the amended complaint, filed three weeks ago in Dallas County District Court.

Two days later, on April 28, ESD filed a second motion for summary judgment, insisting that the family couldn't get more than half a million in damages from the school because "as a 501(c)(3) non-profit accredited secondary school, it qualifies for charitable immunity under Chapter 84 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code ... [and] is entitled to the charitable immunity statute's $500,000 cap on damages." The school also insists it "had no actual notice that Campbell was engaging in the behavior." Furthermore, when it came to the girl's removal from the school, which she'd attended since kindergarten, ESD insists it was in the right there too:
ESD had the absolute discretion to separate Jane Doe II from the school. Courts will not interfere with a private school's exercise of its own judgment in dismissing a student, as the relationship is a contractual one. Because ESD was entitled to act within its discretion and did so, no gross negligence or intentional tort arises from its decision to separate her from the school.
But on May 13, the girl's parents filed papers with the court insisting ESD is far from a charitable organization, merely "the most expensive private school in Dallas County." Says the suit, the parents paid the school more than $1 million during her tenure there, only to then watch ESD's higher-ups take "the extremely uncharitable position of kicking Jane Doe II out of school."

Now that the family is attacking its nonprofit status (the phrase "tax fraud" has been bandied about), ESD now wants the federal courts to get involved. That filing, along with others mentioned above, follows. Among the stack of docs: depositions related to the creation of the school and its relationship with the Episcopal Diocese, including one with Reverend Stephen Swann, the school's founding rector and headmaster.

Update at 11:52 a.m.: Reps for attorneys Charla Aldous and Brent Walker just sent word that the family has filed an emergency motion to remand the case back to state court. "If the family is successful," says the note, "trial is scheduled to begin on June 6." That doc -- which also asks for sanctions against Locke Lorde Bissell & Lidell attorney Chrysta Castaneda, who is repping ESD -- also follows now.

Update at 5:20 p.m.: Judge Sam Lindsey today scheduled a hearing at 9 a.m. Friday on the family's motion to remand back to state court. ESD Parents First Amended ComplaintESD'S NO-EVIDENCE MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENTESD Parents Response to SumJudg MotionESD Removal to Fed Court3- Motion for Remand and for Sanctions 5-21-11

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24 comments
gametruthordare
gametruthordare

It just goes to show how organized religion is one of the worst things that exist. Episcopalians are no better than Catholics when it comes to this type of "conduct authorized." I hope this family and your child wears EDS accordingly.Adult Board Game

ParentOne
ParentOne

UPMOM: How do you know that the school wasn't responsible in some part for this? How do you know that the alleged rapist (yes, he is legally a rapist if found guilty) didn't send thousands of text messages on school computers and networks? How do you know that he wasnt given the keys to a school vehicle and access to a property owned by ESD? How do you know that there was talk among teachers about his behavior that wasn't dealt with by the school?

Answer: You don't know anything.

The sad part of your message is that you blame the victim - who was allegedly groomed for months by this teacher. You indict her as the 'problem' saying that she 'bragged'.  That you would post on a public message board blaming the victim who clearly is in need of support, therapy, etc., for what was done TO her and her mind by this teacher - sickens me.

That so many ESD parents get wrapped up in the school's culture, social network - that they invest so much time and money over the years in the school - they begin to associate their self worth with this mediocre yet pricey private school to the extent that they're willing to blame a teenage girl for her victimization at the hands of a teacher. And not say one word about the actual perpetrator.

Some of you parents are freaking sick in the head.

UPMOM
UPMOM

Ummmm...I am not a fan of ESD...my son went there for two years, but that's beside the point. The school is NOT responsible for this and not to mention that Jane Doe bragged to her peers of the affair. These parents sound nuts!

Lucy
Lucy

Private schools in Dallas have a seller's market, and they up the ante when they know they can. Good for this family for going after them.

FatherPuff
FatherPuff

ESD hiding behind "charitable immunity" is just like City Hall hiding behind "sovereign immunity" then thinking they can act with absolute impunity without even the threat of someone enforcing justice upon them. 

Complete bullshit. I agree, ESD is not a charitable organization in the true sense, so they should be sued up to the actual damages, with no ceiling. 

Fampsy
Fampsy

 Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.......Micah 6:8Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these,. . .  you have done it unto me....and.False face must hide, what the false heart doth  know. (Shakespeare)Have you (ESD) no shame, sir, have you no shame?  (Edward R. Murrow)

Bev
Bev

It seems odd that ESD's counsel isn't found on Locke Lord's website. 

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

I wonder how Dad and Mom feel about Tort Laws  when it comes to the rest of US ?

Neutral Observer
Neutral Observer

Many, many years ago, I went to a predecessor school of ESD, where Father Swann was first starting.  As it was then and now, the teachers are not necessarily affiliated with the church...they're more like public school teachers without the union.  So this particular guy may not have even been Episcopalian.  You can certainly throw the administration of the school under the bus, but this isn't a religious issue.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Can't these xtians keep it zipped up? Or at least date within their own age group?

I'm still waiting for a big story about some atheist sex fiend, or scam artist, or doomsday predictor.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

 Just goes to show you organized religion is one of the most evil things out there. The Episcopalians are no better than the Catholics when it comes to this type of "allowed behavior". I hope this family and their daughter takes ESD down accordingly.

Amazed Observer
Amazed Observer

ParentOne:  you might answer your own question!  How do YOU know?  The teacher is definitely at fault and should be punished through the criminal court system.  HOWEVER, the girl is certainly not blameless nor is she a victim.  SHE made a choice to have a relationship with this teacher.  Unless a 16 year old is mentally challenged SHE knows what is morally right and wrong. Plus she knows how to say NO immediately and report any unwanted advances. This is just another example of parents who want to blame others for their child's bad choices. The girl should accept responsibility for her actions, she and her parents should accept the schools decision to ask her to leave, let the criminal courts deal with the teacher and move on.  Of course, that will not happen because it is ALL about money and blaming someone else for their daughters bad choice. 

MikeLH
MikeLH

UPMOM. Bragging to her peers gets a pass in most anyone's book, ESPECIALLY the courts. This was against the law; a criminal act. Wake up. The parents should own ESD and the headmaster should be out.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

The quote is actually "Have you no sense of decency sir?  At long last have you left no sense of decency?"  It was said to Joseph McCarthy by Joseph Welsh, not Edward R. Murrow.

Montemalone
Montemalone

 I believe the phrase: "Do as I say, not as I do" would apply.

latna
latna

chris danger, neutral observer is correct to say that the school does not hire only christians, episcopalians or whatever. this has nothing to do with religion. it could happen at any school in any state. as it does.

supernanny
supernanny

Whoa! Just because her family has the wherewithal to reframe her life and the resources with which to deal with this mess, the culpability of ESD is certainly not diminished. He chose her and groomed her. It is like blaming a kindergartener for reaching out and taking the candy even though he KNEW better. She was a minor, and with minors, knowing better does not equal being able to do better. Take a child development class, people!

Reset
Reset

I believe the phrase  'boorish clod'  is more relevant to your comments then any tort reform movement is to one's right to a day in court to rectify the mishandling of some scumbag's actions against a minor.

Meansumbitch
Meansumbitch

Considering this came out several months before the lawsuit was filed and ESD kept parents totally uninformed for all that time, every parent that had a child in that school also has grounds for a lawsuit..... which they should most certainly file because considering they are appealing the judgment they STILL haven't learned a thing from this. NOT very smart for a learning institution, are they. (not a question)

Meansumbitch
Meansumbitch

There’s a reason why someone wins well over 9 MILLION bucks in a lawsuit….I can’t believe the idiots supporting this “church” over this. I’venever been so ashamed of MY state of Texas in my life with the moronsthat live around me. Republucan dumbasses… go figure. Read more: ESD’s Letter to Parents Informing Them (Kinda) of Student-Teacher Affair | Park Cities People http://www.parkcitiespeople.co... 

Amazed Observer
Amazed Observer

Your comment is totally irrelevant to this situation and ridiculous.  The 16 year old "minors" actions in this travesty has no relation to a 5 year old and candy.  Plus the 'he chose her and groomed her' is a bit of a stretch.  More like 'they' chose each other. This girl was not naive. She actively and willingly participated in a 7 month long relationship with this man but once she was caught, she and her parents cry poor 'little girl' !  PLEASE . .. . and where were her parents during the 7 months she voluntarily met this man and lied about spending the night with friends and where she was going?   I suppose since she was a 'minor' she did not know better than to lie either? You are the one that needs to take a child development class.  In today's society, the majority of 16 year olds know better and are able to do better! Thank goodness! 

Guest
Guest

There are criminal charges pending against Mr. Campbell.  He is in jail.

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