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K.K. v. Weeks

September 21, 2007

K.K., A MINOR, BY AND THROUGH JOHN KNOWLES AND JOANNE KNOWLES, HER PARENTS, AND JOHN AND JOANNE KNOWLES, INDIVIDUALLY, AND A.S., A MINOR, BY AND THROUGH LISA STANKO AND SCOTT STANKO, HER PARENTS, AND LISA AND SCOTT STANKO, INDIVIDUALLY, PLAINTIFFS
v.
GERALD WEEKS, GEORGE KELLY, ROBERT J. REED, CUMBERLAND VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT, AND JOHN DOES I, II, III, IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX AND X, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William W. Caldwell United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

Plaintiffs John and Joanne Knowles, individually and on behalf of K.K., a minor, and Lisa and Scott Stanko, individually and on behalf of A.S., a minor, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants Cumberland Valley School District ("CVSD"), Gerald Weeks ("Weeks"), George Kelly ("Kelly"), and Robert J. Reed ("Reed") violated their federal constitutional rights to be free from interference in one's familial relationship and to be free from sexual or other violent assault. On May 15, 2007, we granted motions for summary judgment filed by CVSD, Weeks, and Kelly, and dismissed the John Does. (doc. 117). We now consider Reed's motion for summary judgment. (doc. 120). Upon review of the briefs, we will grant the motion, and we will decline to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims.

II. Background

In sections A and B, we quote relevant portions of the factual summary set forth in detail in our prior Memorandum. See K.K. ex rel. Knowles v. Weeks, No. 1: CV-04-2290, 2007 WL 1455888, at *1-*2 (M.D. Pa. May 15, 2007). In section C, we add background necessary for consideration of Reed's motion for summary judgment.

Plaintiffs' lawsuit arises out of alleged acts of sexual abuse committed by, among others, Defendant Reed against A.S. and K.K., two minor students at Monroe Elementary School in Cumberland Valley School District.

A. Abuse of A.S.

A.S. entered Monroe Elementary School as a kindergarten student and remained at Monroe until the beginning of fifth grade. CVSD Statement of Material Facts ("SMF"), ¶ 12. Her parents are Plaintiffs Scott Stanko and Lisa Stanko. Id. ¶ 13. According to A.S., she was sexually abused beginning in second grade and lasting through fifth grade. Id. ¶ 17, 18.

A.S. first revealed the abuse on February 7, 2003, in a note to Lisa Stanko, and she continued to write notes about the abuse over an extended period of time. Id. ¶¶ 16, 24. Stanko turned the notes over to the Pennsylvania State Police ("PSP"). Id. ¶ 16. A.S. was sexually abused for the first time in second grade in a bathroom at Monroe Elementary School by Defendant Reed. Plaintiffs' SMF, CVSD ¶ 17. According to A.S., other incidents of sexual abuse occurred on and off school property at various locations including: a school bathroom, a blue maintenance shed, a garage, homes, and the township building. CVSD SMF ¶ 20.

The alleged abusers included a number of different people; however, Reed, a custodian at Monroe Elementary, is the only school employee named as a defendant in this action. Id. ¶ 19.

Prior to revealing the abuse to her mother, A.S. never informed anyone at CVSD, including the school's principal, Anna Maria Enders, about the abuse and she never sought treatment from the school nurse. CVSD SMF ¶¶ 21, 22, 25. A.S. claims that she did not tell anyone about the abuse because Trooper Kelly threatened her and her family. Plaintiffs' SMF, CVSD, ¶ 21. Defendants contend that A.S. could not identify any independent witness who observed the sexual abuse, CVSD SMF ¶ 26, although A.S. believes that Mr. Yingst, a Monroe Elementary teacher, knew about the abuse. Plaintiffs' SMF, CVSD ¶ 26. A.S. withdrew from Monroe Elementary School in November 2002. Plaintiffs' SMF, Kelly ¶ 1.

B. Abuse of K.K.

K.K. was a special education student at Monroe Elementary School from kindergarten in 1997 until 2002. Like A.S., K.K. alleges that she was sexually abused at many of the same locations as A.S. Weeks SMF ¶ 5. Her parents are Plaintiffs John and Joanne Knowles. CVSD SMF ¶ 2. According to Plaintiffs, K.K. first complained to her parents about irritation from the sexual abuse on October 8, 2002. Plaintiffs' SMF, CVSD ¶ 5.*fn1 In response to K.K.'s complaints, the Knowles took her to an OB/GYN. Id. On October 16, 2002, K.K. first described her injuries and identified Reed by his picture in the school yearbook. Id. ¶ 6. On October 17, 2002, Joanne Knowles contacted Principal Anna Maria Enders at Monroe Elementary School and informed her of the sexual assault allegedly committed by Defendant Reed. Id. ¶¶ 9, 27. On October 18, 2002, K.K. described some of Reed's abusive conduct to her parents. Id. ¶ 6. Prior to K.K.'s disclosure in October 2002, the Knowles had no suspicion that K.K. was being abused. CVSD SMF ¶ 7. In response to K.K.'s disclosure of the abuse, the Knowles withdrew her from Monroe Elementary School. Plaintiffs' SMF, Kelly ¶ 1. K.K. was transferred to the middle school and left to be home schooled on December 19, 2002. Id.

C. Abuse Allegations Against Robert J. Reed

Reed was employed by CVSD as a custodian and was responsible for maintenance work both inside and outside of Monroe Elementary School. Reed SMF ¶ 41. CVSD hired Reed in February 1976. Id. ¶ 40. From 1976 until he was suspended for the abuse allegations, Reed had not been disciplined by CVSD for any reason. Id. ¶ 42. During the same period, Reed had never been the subject of sex abuse allegations although two CVSD officials claimed to have seen Reed asking K.K. to dance for him. Id. ¶ 43; Plaintiffs' SMF ¶ 43. Reed's daughter had previously made allegations of sexual abuse against Reed in the 1990s; however, she later recanted her allegations. Reed SMF ¶ 48. Additionally, York County Children and Youth investigated the allegations and determined that they were ...


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