O'Fallon school district seeks to sever, transfer teacher sexual assault case

By Amelia Flood | May 10, 2010

O'Fallon School District 203 is asking to move a case brought by the mother of a girl who allegedly had a sexual relationship with a music teacher. It also wants the claims against it severed from those against music teacher Matthew Lang.

The district's attorneys Bennett Rodick and Stephanie Jones entered their appearance and filed the motion to sever and transfer the suit April 20.

O'Fallon and Lang are the remaining defendants in a battery suit filed by Jane Doe, the mother of the minor Mary Doe.

Jane Doe contends that O'Fallon did not disclose Lang's previous sexual relationship with a high school student to former defendant Alton Community Unit School District No. 11 when it sought to hire him.

Lang then allegedly had a sexual relationship with Jane Doe's teenage daughter.

Lang pled guilty to criminal charges in the matter earlier this year. He is currently serving time in prison pursuant to that plea.

Alton and the district's school board were dismissed from the case with prejudice last month.

Jane Doe's suit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 and costs.

Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis is set to hear motions in the suit June 25 at 9 a.m.

According to the April 20 motion, O'Fallon argues that the suit should be moved to St. Clair County and the O'Fallon district and its school board should be severed from Jane Doe's case against Lang.

"Severance is appropriate in the case at hand as the allegations against the Board regarding their alleged duty to warn Alton are unrelated to and based on different legal theories than the allegations of sexual assault and battery against Lang," the motion reads.

The school district argues that St. Clair County is the proper venue for the suit against them because the transaction from which the claims against it arise happened in St. Clair County.

The plaintiff is represented by Thomas Falb.

Lang is represented in the criminal action by Benjamin Allen.

The Alton defendants were represented by Dennis Weedman.

Callis took over the case from Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack last December. Stack plans to retire later this year.

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

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