Plaintiffs in suit against music teacher and school district want case to stay in Madison County
The mother of a teenage girl who allegedly had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a high school music teacher wants a lawsuit to stay in Madison County, despite a move by O'Fallon School District 203 to transfer the case to St. Clair County.
The school district and ex-music teacher Matthew Lang are being sued by plaintiff Jane Doe on behalf of her minor daughter, Mary Doe.
The Does allege that Lang had an inappropriate sexual relationship with Mary Doe while employed as a music teacher with the Alton school district, after he had been employed at O'Fallon.
Jane Doe alleges that Lang had another inappropriate relationship with a student who became his wife while the girl was underage when he taught in the O'Fallon schools. The plaintiffs allege O'Fallon concealed that fact when Alton was seeking to hire Lang.
Lang pled guilty to criminal charges connected to his relationship with Mary Doe. He is currently serving prison time pursuant to that plea.
The district's attorneys Bennett Rodick and Stephanie Jones entered their appearance and filed the motion to sever and transfer the suit April 20.
Fellow defendant Alton Community Unit School District #11 and its board of education settled earlier this year.
In its April 20 motion, O'Fallon argues that the claims should be severerd from the case against Lang and the O'Fallon suit sent to St. Clair County.
The district asks for those moves based on the different nature of the claims against it and its co-defendant.
It also argues St. Clair County is the more appropriate venue because the transactions at issue took place there.
In her May 25 response to the severance and transfer motion, Jane Doe argues severance is improper and the case should stay put.
"There is no evidence that it would be an aid to convenience to transfer this matter from Edwardsville to Belleville since the acts of sexual misconduct took place in Alton," the motion reads. "Defendant has also argued that severance is appropriate where it is based upon 'different transactions.' This is not the case here. The ultimate transaction was sexual misconduct by a school teacher from Alton, Illinois. Said school teacher had done the same acts of alleged misconduct in O'Fallon, Illinois."
Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis currently presides.
The next hearing in the case is June 25 at 9 a.m.
Thomas Falb represents Mary and Jane Doe.
Lang is represented in the criminal action by Benjamin Allen.
The Alton defendants were represented by Dennis Weedman.
The case is Madison case number 09-L-886.
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Alton School District
1854 E. Broadway
Alton, IL 62002