OTHELLO — An attorney for the 10-year-old boy who was molested by former Othello teacher Lisa Davis sent a notice of intent to sue the Othello School District. Davis, 48, pleaded guilty to first-degree child molestation, admitting to incidents of inappropriate touching involving the boy. Ryan Earl, the attorney for the victim and his family, is researching a possible suit against the district soon and plans to ask for $1 million compensation.
“We are in the process of gathering information in order to file a claim,” Earl said. “The real question is whether or not the school district knew or should have known. Our contention is obviously they should have.”
According to court records, an employee with the school district reported May 30 the behavior between Davis and the boy. The relationship began in late 2012 and continued into 2013.
Othello School District Superintendent George Juarez could not be reached for comment.
“Clearly something wasn’t right,” Earl said. “If people were paying attention, if there wasn’t a systematic and systemic failure, this would have been caught. I think, push comes to shove, people knew or had an idea that something inappropriate or not quite right was going on and either it wasn’t reported or there wasn’t a process to report it.”
Davis, who was named Teacher of the Month in March 2012, was put on administrative leave following the accusations and resigned shortly after.
“Just because she was Teacher of the Month, you need to be vigilant. The victim here, he doesn’t know any better,” Earl said. “There’s a line where you’re helping and assisting and I think she crossed that line and I think people were aware of it or should have been aware of this.”
According to Earl, Davis allegedly had offered to adopt the boy from the family.
“I think there was some real odd behavior and communication,” Earl said.
“The over arching theme is no community, regardless of size, is immune to this type of behavior or event and there needs to be a processes and protocol and steps to address concerns and potential deviation from the norm,” he said. “I think we can all agree that the norm is this should not happen.”
Davis is currently lodged in Adams County Jail, awaiting sentencing next month. Prosecutors recommended she serve 4.25 years in prison as part of a plea agreement but if Davis qualifies for a sex offender treatment program, her sentence could be reduced to one year.