East St. Louis school board seeks dismissal of sexual assault lawsuit based on plaintiff’s pseudonym

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Apr 10, 2015


The East St. Louis school district and its security guard accused of sexually assaulting a former high school student numerous times seeks to dismiss the complaint because the suit was filed under a false name.

The woman was originally identified only as Jane Doe in her Nov. 7 lawsuit. She alleges defendant Isaac O. Turner, an East St. Louis High School security guard, would remove her from school grounds and take her to the Alorton Motorcycle Club during the 2011-2012 school year. There, he would engage in a secret physical and emotional relationship with her, then return her to school grounds after classes began.

“The plaintiff’s ‘school personnel,’ who were present at least twice weekly when she was brought into class late by defendant Turner, were under a duty to report said behavior as a reasonable caretaker would have believed inappropriate behavior was occurring between defendant Turner and the plaintiff,” the suit states.

Represented by Gerrett Hoerner of Becker Hoerner Thompson & Ysursa, the defendants filed a combined motion to dismiss in regards to Count I on Dec. 9, arguing that filing the lawsuit under a fictitious name is grounds for dismissal.

The defendants also argue that they cannot be held liable for Turner’s unauthorized misconduct because it occurred outside the scope of his employment, making dismissal proper.

Further, the defendants claim immunity under the Tort Immunity Act.

On March 5, the plaintiff chose to litigate using her name, Jamesha Rencher, and filed a motion to amend her complaint. She seeks to delineate separate causes of action against each individual defendant.

Rencher also responded to the defendants’ motion to dismiss, arguing that they are not granted immunity because they allegedly knowingly employed a person without initiating a criminal background check.

Circuit Judge Robert LeChien scheduled a motion hearing to address each motion for April 16 at 9:30 a.m.

In her complaint, Rencher accuses the defendants of negligence, saying they failed to conduct a reasonable investigation of Turner’s background and allowed him to continue to remain employed with the school.

Rencher accuses Turner of battery, saying he negligently touched and penetrated her, and because of the incidents, she alleges she suffered personal and emotional injuries.

She seeks a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Rencher is represented by Brian L. Polinske of Polinske & Associates in Edwardsville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-736

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