O'Fallon school district named in sexual abuse suit

Amelia Flood Mar. 1, 2010, 1:32am

O'Fallon School District 203 has been added as a defendant in a suit over the alleged sexual abuse of a student by a music teacher.

Plaintiff Jane Doe, acting as mother of her daughter, Mary Doe, filed an amended complaint Feb. 19 naming the district, which operates O'Fallon Township High School, as a defendant a case against Alton Community Unit School District #11. The suit also targets former music teacher Matthew Lang for negligence, battery, criminal sexual assault and abuse, and other charges.

Lang is currently awaiting sentencing in a criminal case stemming from the alleged incident.

He pled guilty to criminal sexual assault in January.

In the original complaint, Jane Doe alleged that Lang, then 36, began a sexual relationship with her 16 year-old daughter from February to August 2009. The plaintiff alleges that prior to the sexual relationship, she warned the school of Lang's inappropriate actions.

Jane Doe alleges that the school district and its board failed to screen Lang properly, failed to address improper actions, employed Lang with knowledge of the actions and failed to report Lang to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

As a result of the alleged failure, Jane Doe contends her daughter suffered bodily and mental injury, pain, embarrassment, and other damages and that she incurred medical costs.

In her new complaint, Jane Doe alleges that while employed by the O'Fallon district prior to going to Alton, Lang entered into another sexual relationship with a minor, Eden Lang, whom he later married.

As band director, the suit contends Lang knew of and approved of his students texting inappropriate sexual comments and that he knew of teachers engaging in sexual communications and misconduct with students.

According to the complaint, Lang was later fired by O'Fallon, although it was termed a resignation.

After his application to Alton, the plaintiff contends that officials from that district met with Lang's former principal about his qualifications.

The O'Fallon officials then allegedly told the Alton staff that Lang's only issue was that he had trouble "filling the shoes of a previous Band Director that had, for years, been referred to as 'God' by students."

The plaintiff alleges O'Fallon did not disclose Lang's relationship with a student or the other issues.

The suit claims O'Fallon fraudulently concealed facts about Lang and breached its duty to disclose them.

The plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and costs per each of the suit's five counts.

Jane Doe is represented by Thomas Falb.

The Alton defendants are represented by Dennis Weedman.

There is no attorney listed for O'Fallon.

There is no attorney listed for Lang in the civil case.

Lang is represented by Benjamin Allen in the criminal matter.

The case had been assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack. It is now assigned to Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.

The case is Madison case number 09-L-886.

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