Lawsuit claims substitute teacher sexually assaulted 8-year-old girl

A lawsuit filed in Multnomah County this week claims a substitute teacher groomed and sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl in 2008.

KATU News has decided not to use the name of the teacher because, at this point, he has not been charged with a crime.

“We have this brave young woman at 18, who just had a birthday and is just starting to figure out why her life is upside down,” the victim's lawyer, Tom Patton, said.

The victim, who is referred to as "YM" in the lawsuit, claims it all started when she was in the third grade at Alder Elementary in the Reynolds School District.

“He started grooming behaviors ... like rubbing shoulders and giving compliments,” Patton said, adding "grooming" is used to confuse victims.

“The grooming behavior creates a fog so they don't know the difference between appropriate affection and inappropriate touching,” Patton said.

By the end of the year, Patton says the assault got worse.

“It ultimately resulted in sexual assault that occurred when she was 9, toward the end of her third-grade year,” Patton said.

This is not the first time the same teacher was accused of inappropriate behavior. In 2002, he was suspended for 30 days and put on probation for four years after inappropriately emailing students and giving them gifts.

“Being just a year out of that 4-year probation when this occurred is very troubling,” Patton said.

Patton said the Reynolds School District should have done something, which is why the lawsuit is against the district in particular.

“He obviously had issues and should have been more closely supervised,” Patton said.

KATU News reached out to the Reynolds School District about the lawsuit but as of Thursday evening, has not heard back.

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