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O'Fallon Township High School denies wrongdoing in suit over teacher's relationship with teen

By Christina Stueve | Apr 4, 2012


O'Fallon Township High School has responded to a plaintiff's fourth amended complaint alleging a former music and band teacher had a sexual relationship with an Alton teen.

The lawsuit was filed by the mother of an Alton teen, Jane Doe, who claims her 16-year-old daughter had the relationship with music teacher Matthew Lang, who was 36 at the time.

Doe claims the O'Fallon School District withheld information about Lang's alleged history of inappropriate relationships with students when Alton school officials inquired about him during a job search.

Doe filed filed the amended complaint March 6 in a case presided over by Madison County Chief Circuit Judge Ann Callis.

Lang was hired by Alton Community Unit School District, where he had the relationship with Jane Doe's teenage daughter, Mary Doe.

Lang was later arrested and pled guilty to criminal charges in connection with that relationship.

The Alton school district had been named as a defendant in the suit, but was later dropped from the litigation.

O'Fallon answered the plaintiff's fourth amended complaint Monday, stating that complaints to the school board or school district regarding Lang's performance did not involve allegations of a sexual relationship between Lang and a student.

Attorneys James Craney and David Bub represent the O'Fallon school district.

According to background information in O'Fallon's answer, Lang applied for a band director's job in Alton in the spring of 2007.

Prior to hiring Lang, Alton's high school principal contacted O'Fallon's then-superintendent Russell Clover about Lang's performance, the school stated in its answer.

Clover arranged a meeting in O'Fallon with two Alton administrators to discuss Lang's resignation from O'Fallon. They discussed Lang's performance with the Alton school officials and his problems managing band boosters' employees, the answer states.

During the meeting, Clover asked O'Fallon High School Principal Steven Dirnbeck to add to the conversation. Both agreed Lang was talented and could succeed somewhere besides O'Fallon, the answer states.

One of the reasons Dirnbeck gave to Alton officials for Lang's lack of success in O'Fallon was his inability to deal with band staff. Alton School District officials responded that Lang would not have those responsibilities in Alton.

Clover, Dirnbeck, and the school board were not aware of allegations about Lang's relationship with a student, the answer states.

The board did not breach a legal duty to the plaintiffs as it had no communication with the plaintiffs regarding Lang, the answer states.

Thomas Falb represents Doe.

Lang does not have representation listed in the 2009 civil suit.

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

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Alton Community Unit School District 11