Naming 11 former students or guardians as plaintiffs, a civil suit was filed Monday against the Ocosta School District for the district’s actions concerning a teacher accused of sexual harassment and misconduct over several years.
Wade Eric Iseminger, 56, the former teacher and coach at the center of the case, was arrested in the spring and is being prosecuted in a criminal case.
“The Washington Supreme Court has held that a school setting must be free of intimidation and sexual harassment to allow children to learn and participate in school and school events in an environment that feels safe and is safe, and that public schools are strictly liable for harm to students from sexual misconduct by school employees,” the suit reads. “This lawsuit seeks monetary damages for harm done to multiple elementary school children at the Ocosta School District which allowed, indeed enabled, and facilitated, years of bullying, intimidation, and sexual misconduct by an Ocosta elementary school teacher, coach, and student advisor.”
Iseminger was a teacher at the school for nearly three decades, The Daily World previously reported. Iseminger was arrested and charged with multiple counts of assault and child molestation after a rapid investigation by the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office in April. The charging documents allege the district and district superintendent placed Iseminger in a position of power over the victims, where he engaged in “severe, pervasive bully and objectively offensive sexual conduct,” according to the documents, naming Superintendent Heather Sweet a defendant in the case alongside the district.
“Ocosta school district and Heather Sweet take all allegations that any student has experienced harm very seriously, as the health safety and welfare of Ocosta school district students has been and always will be of paramount importance,” said attorney Mick McFarland, who is representing the school district and superintendent. “We will be addressing what we believe to be some inaccuracies in the portrayal of the facts as alleged in the complaint within the context of the litigation. I have asked my clients not to comment on the litigation.”
The suit is seeking substantial financial damages against the defendants in its request for judgement. Jeffrey Campiche is representing the plaintiffs.
“Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs’ children’s harms are continuing because of the continued intimidation at Ocosta School District of plaintiffs and plaintiffs’ children including the alleged victims in the criminal charges against Ocosta School District elementary teacher Wade Iseminger by permitted behavior of Ocosta School District employee Kate Iseminger the wife of Wade Iseminger,” the suit alleges.
Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.