KANSAS CITY, KAN.—A Kansas high school student has filed a federal lawsuit accusing an assistant football coach of sexually harassing her.
The student, who is not identified, and her mother filed the Title IX lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, against the Smith Center School District and Brock Hutchinson, a longtime assistant high school football coach at Smith Center high school, the Kansas City Star reported.
The lawsuit, which seeks undetermined financial damages for medical bills, emotional suffering and attorney fees, accuses Hutchinson of sexually harassing the student in front of classmates and school employees. The lawsuit also claims the harassment led the student to become depressed, miss school and change schools in her senior year. The student is finishing her final year at another district.
The district referred questions Friday to the district attorney, who didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment. Hutchinson said he didn’t know such a lawsuit had been filed, was surprised and declined comment about the allegations.
The lawsuit claims that Hutchinson, who in 2008 was a member of the coaching staff that led the Smith Center football team during what was then the nation’s longest winning streak, was “commonly known” among district employees “to routinely engage” in sexual conversation with students.
The lawsuit also claims school officials ignored the student’s complaint, and that after the student and her mother complained to district officials about Hutchinson, the student’s car tires were slashed in the school parking lot, she was intimidated and interrogated by school employees and students and pressured her to apologize to the coach.
Hutchinson, whose father previously coached the football team for 30 years, has been coaching in the north-central Kansas town of Smith Center for 19 years. The school district is the largest employer, and “the weekly high school football game is the fiber of the region’s social fabric,” the lawsuit says.