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O'Fallon school district files answer, defenses to suit over teen's sexual relationship with band teacher

By Amelia Flood | Apr 11, 2011

O'Fallon School District 203 denies that it had any part in what came to be an illicit sexual relationship between former music teacher Matthew Lang and an Alton high school student in answers and defenses filed April 4 in a suit brought by the teen's mother.

The school district filed its answer in the Madison County lawsuit to plaintiff Jane Doe's third amended complaint and additional affirmative defenses.

Jane Doe is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 against the district and Lang.
She alleges that the O'Fallon district hid information about Lang's previous inappropriate relationships with students when Alton officials inquired about him during a job hunt.

Lang was eventually employed at the Alton high school where Jane Doe's daughter Mary Doe attended school.

The pair entered into a sexual relationship. Lang would eventually plead guilty to criminal charges connected to the relationship.

Jane Doe claims the affair caused her daughter severe emotional distress.

While the suit also named the Alton School District and the O'Fallon Federation of Teachers as defendants, both have since left the case.

The teachers union was the most recent defendant to bow out of the case. It settled with the Does April 1, according to an order signed by Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.

The terms of that settlement are not available.

In its April 4 answer, the O'Fallon district denies the plaintiff's claims.

In its affirmative defenses filed the same day, the school district's board contends that it is immune from the claims under the Illinois Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.

It also contends that Madison County is an improper venue for the case – a claim that was rejected by Callis when the district argued it in a separate motion that sought to take the case to St. Clair County.

The district claims it did not breach a legal duty to the plaintiffs and that the claims against it should be severed from those attached to Lang.

Thomas Falb represents the plaintiff.

Bennett Rodick, Stephanie Jones, and James Craney represent the O'Fallon district.

Lang does not have an attorney listed in the civil matter.

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

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