Saturday, June 15, 2013

Former Teacher Allegedly Sexually Abused Multiple Students

Donna Harper, former special education teacher at Judson Middle School, Live Oak, Texas, is accused of sexually molesting four juveniles decades ago while they were students in the mid-1980s.

Donna Harper allegedly pursued a sexual relationship with the boys while they were in seventh and eighth grade. The notice of tort claims that “In addition to touching, groping and grooming, these students had sexual intercourse on numerous occasions with their teacher,” the notice reads. “Some sexual conduct occurred on a one-on-one situation, while other sexual conduct occurred with multiple children being present and having sex, while others watched or participated.” The sexual encounters happened at the school, at Harper’s home, at the South Salem Drive-In and at the Oregon Coast. Harper worked for the school district from September 1977 until December 1991, when she retired for medical reasons. She worked with kids who had physical, developmental and learning disabilities. The four men in these claims struggled with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Dan Gatti, the attorney representing the four men who accuse their former teacher, said it’s not unusual for victims to delay coming forward. He has represented several clients in sex-abuse cases against the Catholic Church and Portland’s Archdiocese. “I’ve had cases where people didn’t start connecting the dots until people were in their 70s,” Gatti said. “As a child you don’t have a clue that this is going to affect you. You are just filled with shame and anger.” Gatti is looking for additional victims. “If I’ve got four victims, I suspect she’s probably got many more,” Gatti said. “I would suspect there are other victims — assuming the district didn’t know and didn’t discover it.”

Paul Dakopolos, an attorney for the Salem-Keizer School District, confirmed that the district is investigating the accusations. He said time has made it difficult to track down possible witnesses. “The principal is deceased, and all of the other staff people are retired".

Former Middle School Teacher Accused of Sexually Molesting Multiple Students

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