TULSA – A civil lawsuit against Jay Public Schools filed by the parents of a teenage girl in connection to her being sexually assaulted by a girls basketball coach was dismissed by a federal court judge on Tuesday, July 27.
U.S. District Court Judge James H Payne granted Jay Public School’s motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit that alleged the school had violated the student’s civil rights.
The Grove Sun is not naming the parents in order to protect the identity of the victim.
“We anticipate filing an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Steven R Hickman, attorney for the family.
A jury trial was set to begin on July 25, before the dismissal.
“The family is very upset, but they also know this is a hurdle you have to get across,” Hickman said.
Karen Long, Jay School district attorney, said her school officials are pleased with the court's decision.
Long said the ruling confirms the correct interpretation of the law.
About the case
At the center of the lawsuit is “what the school knew and when they knew” about Cory Henton’s background when they hired him in 2013, Long said.
Depositions in the civil case show the Neosho School District, in Neosho, Missouri, never said Henton had a problem with a child.
Later Henton was investigated by the Neosho Police Department for sexual complaints against an adult, no charges were ever filed in that investigation.
“There are no winners when someone like Cory Henton engages in this type of behavior,” Long said.
Henton, 40, is serving a 15-year sentence on second-degree rape, rape by instrumentation, 16 counts of lewd molestation, having a pattern of criminal offenses, and soliciting sexual conduct and communication with a minor.
The victim, who was a member of Henton’s girls basketball squad was 15-years-old at the time of the offenses. He was her basketball coach beginning in the eighth grade.
Henton resigned from his position with the school on March 31, 2015, and his teaching certificate was revoked by the Oklahoma Department of Education in June 2015.