Lawsuit claims Ashtabula Schools covered-up sexual abuse cases for decades

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 6:56 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A lawsuit filed in the Federal District Court for Northern Ohio claims that the Ashtabula City School District helped to cover-up sexual misconduct by former teacher Christine Seuffert with multiple students during the 1980′s.

Seuffert is a former teacher and coach for Ashtabula Schools, eventually becoming a member of the school board before resigning in 2022 due to these same allegations. The lawsuit claims that when Seuffert was employed as a teacher in the 80′s she “met and developed inappropriately close relationships, some of a sexual nature, with several students”.

The former students listed on the lawsuit say that Seuffert would use her position as a coach to groom and ultimately harass and abuse these students. They claim she would provide alcohol to minors, and inappropriately touch them while threatening to kick the students off their sports teams if they spoke up about the abuse.

The lawsuit also claims that the district knew about the alleged assaults, “failing to investigate” allegations. The lawsuit explains that the district broke federal rights under Title IX, that prohibits sex based discrimination at a school.

19 News reached out to the district for comment, but has not head back from their legal representation. The lawsuit is currently in the “discovery” phase which could lead to a months long process. As the statute of limitations has expired in this case, Seuffert would not go to jail if found liable.