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M.C. v. Hollis Independent School District No. 66 of Harmon County

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

August 10, 2017

M.C., a minor, by and through his father and next friend, TYRONE CAMPBELL, and TYRONE CAMPBELL, Plaintiffs,
v.
HOLLIS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 66 OF HARMON COUNTY, OKLAHOMA a/k/a HOLLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS,, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBIN J. CAUTHRON United States District Judge.

         Following the July 27, 2017, bench trial in this matter, the Court issues the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. Defendant Jennifer Caswell was formerly a teacher at the Hollis Middle School where Plaintiff Micah Campbell was her eighth grade student and a minor during the 2013-14 school year.

         2. Micah was 14 and 15 years old during the time in question. Micah's family described him as outgoing and friendly; he had many friends and was socially active. Micah played on the Hollis Varsity Basketball team as a freshman and dreamed of playing college basketball and joining a National Basketball Association team.

         3. Caswell began flirting with Micah at school and students reported seeing Micah enter Caswell's classroom outside of his assigned class time. School officials investigated this claim and other rumors after receiving reports from students. Both Micah and Caswell denied the allegations and Micah was sent to in-school suspension.

         4. Caswell and Micah entered into a sexual relationship in April 2014 when they had intercourse in Caswell's classroom. Shortly thereafter, Caswell resigned her teaching position.

         5. Caswell did not end the relationship with Micah. Micah testified they had intercourse about 11 more times at various locations. Plaintiff Tyrone Campbell was unaware of the relationship and testified he thought Caswell was tutoring Micah in his home and the rumors were all unfounded.

         6. Tyrone discovered Caswell was visiting Micah while Tyrone was not home and sent Micah to spend the summer at his mother's house in Olive Branch, Mississippi.

         7. Caswell drove to Mississippi, picked up Micah, and took him to a motel. She was arrested and charged with rape in the second degree, forcible sodomy, and enticing a child under 16 into a secluded place.

         8. Caswell entered a guilty plea to all counts.

         9. Prior to her sentencing, Caswell appeared on national television on the Dr. Phil Show to discuss the above-described events. She did not name Micah, but Caswell did state her sexual relationship was with her student.

         10. Micah reports feelings of depression, isolation, and self-blame for the events that transpired. He experienced humiliation when members of his community publically chastised him and when strangers recognized him and questioned him about the scandal.

         11. Due to the notoriety of these events, the Campbell family transferred Micah to the Cache school district starting with his junior year of high school. As a result, Micah was unable to play basketball at Cache and it is unknown whether the coach will allow him to play his upcoming senior year. It is unclear ...


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