Two Roanoke County students sue school board, administration and former coach over alleged sexual misconduct
ROANOKE COUNTY, Virginia. – Current and former Roanoke County schools officials now face a $19 million lawsuit.
Two former students are suing the Roanoke County School Board, Northside High School administrators and a former coach for violating Title IX guidelines.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court on Tuesday, details how the two students, called Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, were allegedly groomed and sexually abused by Lorstan Allen.
While Jane Does went to Northside, Allen was an IT specialist, head boys’ football coach, and boys’ wrestling coach.
Jane Doe 1 attended Northside High School from August 2015 to May 2019 while Jane Doe was a student from August 2017 to May 2021.
According to the lawsuit, Allen “regularly used his position as an IT specialist to call out-of-class female students to come to his office.”
Apparently, he would invite female students, including the Jane Does, to see him during their study breaks, lunch breaks, or any free time they had on school grounds. Allen would also offer female students rides home or on the soccer field after school, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says Allen would ask for their phone numbers and ask to be friends on social media platforms, including Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. He allegedly exhibited ‘predatory behaviour’ by calling them out of class, encouraging them to spend time with him behind closed doors in his office and engaging in ‘long phone calls’ with the girls in the evenings and on the weekend.
The two Northside High School alumni say Allen’s efforts to bond with these students “set them up for sexual abuse.”
Both Jane Does, on different occasions, said that if they didn’t go to his office when he asked them to, he would abuse his power as a computer scientist and remotely control their computers, causing them to malfunction so so they can come to his office. .
During Jane Doe 1’s second and first year, the lawsuit details several instances that claim Allen would inappropriately touch, kiss, or sexually abuse her against her will. Another example indicates that Allen verbally told Jane Doe 1 that she could perform sexual acts on him.
In 2017, during Jane Doe 1’s junior year, the lawsuit claims the Northside Resource Officer monitored surveillance footage showing Jane Doe 1 being in Allen’s office for more than two hours with the door closed.
Officials said at the time that deputy principal Laurie McCracken met with Allen about his “predatory behavior” but no action was taken outside of installing a half swing door in his office. Allen was also reportedly told to keep his door open while the students were in his office.
McCracken also tried to create a policy that students could not cross a certain “line” in Allen’s office, but no Northside employee ever enforced it.
The Jane Does said other staff knew Allen kept closing his door when one of the girls visited.
According to the lawsuit, Northside administrators, teachers, coaches and other staff knew of Allen’s “inappropriate relationships with female students enrolled at Northside, including Jane Does 1 and 2, and spent a great deal of time with them at school and outside of school”.
The two Jane Does say staff members never questioned or made sure the girls were safe, even though they were aware of Allen’s inappropriate behavior.
At the end of the 2019 school year, when Jane Doe 1 graduated, the lawsuit says Allen’s grooming of Jane Doe 2 escalated into “sexual harassment, abuse, and unwanted touching” that only worsen over the summer and into 2020.
The lawsuit states that Allen would ask Jane Doe 2 questions about his sex life, make comments about the students and teachers he wanted to have sex with, and explicitly detail the sexual acts he wanted to do to Jane Doe 2 .
Jane Doe 2 said Allen even asked her to send him photos of her in her underwear or bikini in 2019 and 2020, and would comment on her body, calling her ‘cute’, ‘sexy’ , “hot” and “curve”. ”
In the fall of 2020, during Jane Doe 2’s senior year, the lawsuit says she told her parents about Allen after the “harassing and abusive behavior became so extreme.” Jane Doe 2 said she tried to cut Allen out of her life, but he continued to abuse her power as a computer scientist by causing her computer to malfunction so she could get to his office.
Documents show Jane Doe 2’s father met with Deputy Director Christopher Morris in November 2020. While Morris showed concern and offered to help Jane Doe 2 with her computer, the lawsuit said no action was taken. hadn’t been taken and Morris told Jane Doe 2 that he wasn’t doing it. remember his conversation with his father.
After that conversation, Principal Jill Green called Jane Doe 2’s father and told him not to worry about Allen, implying that Northside would take action against the IT specialist and trainer, according to the lawsuit. However, like the final instance, the lawsuit says no action was taken.
The lawsuit states that there was no effort to investigate Allen for his behavior, even though administration and staff were aware of it.
The plaintiffs are seeking judgment in the form of $19 million against Allen, the Roanoke County School Board and the trustees of Northside High School.
On November 14, 2021, Northside Athletics Announced Trey Noell as the New Boys’ football coach, and Roanoke County school officials say Allen has not been an employee of the district since November 15, 2021.
We reached out to Roanoke County Public Schools for comment, but district community relations director Chuck Lionberger told 10 News the school board does not comment on litigation matters.
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