Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Mother claims teachers' union helped conceal reason for firing in sexual misconduct case

By Amelia Flood | Aug 31, 2010


The O'Fallon Federation of Teachers has been named as a defendant in a woman's suit over her teenage daughter's sexual relationship with her music teacher.

Plaintiff Jane Doe, as mother of Mary Doe, filed her third amended complaint adding the teachers union Aug. 3.

Doe is suing the union, O'Fallon School District #203 and former music teacher Matthew Lang for more than $200,000 in damages, punitive damages and costs.

The Alton school district and its board of education had been parties to the suit as well.

They were dismissed with prejudice by the plaintiff.

According to the third amended complaint, Lang, then 36, was a band instructor at Alton High School when he began a sexual relationship with Mary Doe, then age 16.

Lang was eventually arrested and charged criminal sexual assault.

Lang pled guilty earlier this year and is awaiting sentencing.

Jane Doe claims that the O'Fallon school district concealed a relationship Lang had with the woman who became his wife, Eden Lang, which began while she was a student.

Jane Doe claims that Lang approved of his students in the O'Fallon district texting inappropriate sexual messages and that he knew of other instructors engaging in sexual misconduct with students.

The suit claims that O'Fallon fired Lang over the issues and agreed, after negotiations with Lang and the teachers union, to term the firing a resignation.

Jane Doe claims O'Fallon concealed that information from the Alton district when it was investigating Lang's background when it was considering hiring him.

The plaintiff claims the teachers union provided services to Lang that included obtaining for him an agreement with the O'Fallon school district that no negative comments would be made about Lang after his resignation, although the union was aware of the circumstances leading to the end of Lang's employment.

Jane Doe claims that the union's actions were voluntary and that it negligently, willfully and wantonly concealed Lang's history.

The teachers union moved Aug. 30 to dismiss the count of the suit against it.

The union argues that Jane Doe's request for punitive damages is improper because it combines pleas for both compensatory and punitive damages.

It also claims that the union and Lang are protected by union agent and union member privilege, similar to attorney-client privilege.

The union asks that the count be dismissed for improper venue, suggesting that St. Clair County is the proper place for the suit because the alleged acts took place there.

The O'Fallon district also has a motion to transfer the case against it to St. Clair County.

It also wants the claims against it severed from those against Lang.

Thomas Falb represents Jane Doe.

Bennett Rodick represents the O'Fallon district.

Chris Kolker represents the O'Fallon teachers union.

Lang does not have representation listed in the civil case's file.

Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis presides.

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

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Alton Community Unit School District 11