United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
John Doe 4 attended school in the Freeburg Community
Consolidated School District No. 70 (“the School
District”) for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade.
Plaintiff alleges that during that time a long-time employee
of the School District, Robin Hawkins, sexually groomed,
harassed, and abused him at school on a number of occasions.
Plaintiff further alleges that Hawkins previously abused
other boys, and a number of reports regarding the abuse were
made to the School District, but the School District failed
to take appropriate corrective action. In other words,
according to Plaintiff, the School District knew that Hawkins
was a sexual predator but chose not to stop him, and as a
result, Plaintiff became yet another one of his victims.
Plaintiff filed this action to recover damages from the
School District and three former school officials for the
abuse he allegedly suffered (Doc. 2).
pending before the Court is a motion filed by Plaintiff
seeking summary judgment on Count 1, which is his claim for
discrimination under Title IX against the School District
(Doc. 90). Defendant filed a timely response in opposition to
the motion for summary judgment (Doc. 91), to which Plaintiff
filed a reply (Doc. 92). The Court has carefully considered
the briefs submitted by the parties, and for the reasons set
forth below, the motion is granted.
Hawkins began his career with the Freeburg Community
Consolidated School District No. 70 (“the School
District”) in 1977 (Doc. 90). He spent sixteen years,
from 1977 to 1993, as a teacher, counselor, basketball and
track coach, and student council sponsor (Id.).
During that time, Lawrence Meggs served as assistant
superintendent, and Clarence Haege was the superintendent
(Id.). When Haege retired in 1994, Meggs was
promoted to superintendent, and Hawkins was promoted to
principal and assistant superintendent (Id.). Once
Meggs retired in 1998, Hawkins became superintendent and
served in that capacity until May 2009, when he committed
suicide (Id.). Following Hawkins's suicide,
Meggs once again served as superintendent on an interim basis
from May 2009 to January 2010 (Id.). Herschel
Parrish was a member of the school board from 1981 to 2009,
and he served as president from 1992 to 2009 (Id.).
fall of 2006, Plaintiff John Doe 4 began attending Carl L.
Barton Elementary School, which is operated by the School
District, as a sixth grader (Doc. 90-1). At that time, Robin
Hawkins was the superintendent of the School District
(Id.). According to Plaintiff's deposition
testimony, Hawkins began to befriend him as soon as he
arrived in the School District (Id.). He would be
sent to Hawkins's office for disciplinary reasons or
would occasionally go to his office just to talk
(Id.). While he was in sixth grade, Hawkins began
asking Plaintiff questions of a sexual nature (Id.).
The conversations occurred in Hawkins's office with the
door closed (Id.; see also Doc. 90-14).
They would sit with their knees interlocked, with
Hawkins's knee touching Plaintiff's crotch
(Id.). Hawkins would rub Plaintiff's leg and pat
him on the butt when he left (Id.).
testified that during the spring of 2008, his conversations
with Hawkins turned to masturbation (Doc. 90-1). Hawkins
showed Plaintiff how to masturbate by doing it to himself,
but then Hawkins progressed to masturbating Plaintiff
(Id.). During the spring and summer of 2008, the
acts of masturbation occurred multiple times during the
school day (or just after school) in Hawkins's office
with the door closed (Id.).
abuse progressed even further during the last week of summer
school in 2008. According to Plaintiff, Hawkins took him to
the locker room beneath the stage in the old gym, where they
masturbated each other (Doc. 90-1). Hawkins then asked
Plaintiff if he would try new things, and Plaintiff performed
oral sex on Hawkins, and Hawkins anally penetrated Plaintiff
(Id.) During the fall of 2008, Hawkins and Plaintiff
spoke on a daily basis; Hawkins would ask about
Plaintiff's sexual activities, and they continued to
engage in mutual masturbation in Hawkins's office
(Id.). The sexual abuse ceased in early 2009
turns out that Plaintiff is not the first student to claim
that Hawkins sexually abused him when he was a junior high
student. A number of other male students have come forward,
and their claims illustrate that Hawkins purportedly began
sexually abusing male students as far back as 1980 and
continued to do so throughout the entire course of his career
in the School District.
a male student, referred to here as B.S., claims Hawkins
sexually abused him beginning in 1980 when he was in
Hawkins's social studies class (Doc. 90; Doc. 90-3).
Specifically, B.S. alleges Hawkins would call him up to his
desk during class, B.S. would sit in a chair, and Hawkins
would run his hand up B.S.'s leg and “play with
[his] balls” (Id.). B.S. claims he told the
assistant superintendent, Lawrence Meggs, on more than one
occasion that Hawkins was fondling him, which Meggs denies
(Doc. 90; Doc. 91; Doc. 90-3; Doc. 90-4).
male student, referred to here as B.B., also claims that
Hawkins fondled him during social studies class during the
1981-1982 and the 1982-1983 school years (Doc. 90; Doc.
90-5). While B.B. was in eighth grade or shortly thereafter,
either he or his parents told family friend Wayne King about
the abuse (Doc. 90; Doc. 90-5; Doc. 90-6). King was a PE
teacher in the School District (Doc. 90; Doc. 90-5; Doc.
90-6). King watched Hawkins for a time, but did not see
anything inappropriate (Doc. 90; Doc. 90-6). King did not
report B.B.'s complaint to any school administrators or
the school board at that time (Doc. 90; Doc. 90-6).
1991, a sixth grade student, referred to here as A.M., came
forward with a complaint that he was being sexually abused by
Hawkins (Doc. 90; Doc. 90-7). According to A.M., Hawkins took
him into the locker room of the old gym, blindfolded him,
tied him up, and told him that a girl would come in and give
him oral sex (Doc. 90; Doc. 90-7). A.M. could see under the
blindfold, however, that he was receiving oral sex from
Hawkins, not a girl (Doc. 90; Doc. 90-7). This occurred on
more than five occasions (Doc. 90; Doc. 90-7).
told his parents about the abuse, who in turn notified the
superintendent, Clarence Haege (Doc. 90; Doc. 91). Haege then
relayed the accusation to Lawrence Meggs, and together they
notified the school board (Doc. 90; Doc. 91). Haege also
notified both the Freeburg Police Department and the
Department of Children and Family Services
(“DCFS”), who investigated A.M.'s allegations
(Doc. 90; Doc. 91). As part of the police department's
investigation, Wayne King was questioned; King testified
that, following the questioning, he informed Meggs that B.B.
had previously disclosed that he was sexually abused by
Hawkins (Doc. 90-6). Meggs denies that King told him about
B.B. at the time of the investigation into A.M.'s
allegations; instead, according to Meggs, King told him about
B.B. sometime around 2000 (Doc. 91-2). At that time, King and
Meggs were no longer employed by the School District, but
Hawkins was (Doc. 91-2).
Freeburg Police Department and DCFS determined that
A.M.'s allegations of abuse were unfounded (Doc. 91; Doc.
91-2; Doc. 91-7). Haege and Meggs still harbored suspicions,
however, so they conducted their own investigation (Doc. 90;
Doc. 90-4; Doc. 90-8; Doc. 91). They searched the locker room
with a black light, took samples of a brown patch that was
analyzed by the police department and determined to be
varnish, and ordered the janitor to search the old gym for
whatever he could ...