Former Akiachak teacher reports sexual assault, harassment in lawsuit

A lawsuit has been filed against the Yupiit School District, four Akiachak school supervisors and an Alaska State Trooper official for allegedly showing “deliberate indifference” when a former school teacher was sexually assaulted and continuously harassed during her nearly three years teaching there.

The lawsuit, which was filed late last month, claims the entities exercised gross negligence, caused emotional distress, retaliation, and violated Title IX among other charges.

According to court documents, the teacher taught at the Akiachak school from late 2011 to early 2014. During this time she faced repeated harassment at her home. The school district provided the housing.

“On almost a nightly basis strange men would pound on her door and outside walls of her house, demanding to be let in and loudly demanding sex,” the documents say. During her third year, she requested safer housing and the school district allegedly said they would find her a new home, but after Christmas break there was none.

The plaintiff decided to sleep at the school until she was given better housing. However, the teacher suffers from epilepsy, and one night she experienced a seizure and lost consciousness. When she awoke there were signs of a sexual assault and her chest was mutilated.

The lawsuit alleges that the teacher attempted, but was unsuccessful in reaching the village public safety officers. Alaska State Troopers flew her to Bethel where she underwent a rape kit exam.

She was able to get shelter and seek medical attention in Bethel. She tested positive for an incurable form of herpes and suffers from a severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

The teacher is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and an order for the school to take more preventive measures against sexual assault and harassment.

The attorney representing the client is Anchorage-based civil rights lawyer Caitlin Shortell. Shortell declined to comment on this story.

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