Student files lawsuit, claiming that school ignored sexual harassment by teacher
Female student engaged in 3-year sexual relationship with teacher, lawsuit says
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A G-Star School of the Arts alumna has filed a federal lawsuit against her former school, claiming that the school didn’t act properly to address sexual abuse and harassment by a school administrator.
The student, who goes by Jane Doe in the lawsuit, said Ismail Martinez lured her into a three-year relationship when she was 15 years old.
The lawsuit claims that Martinez, who was Doe’s history teacher, made inappropriate comments directed at the teen.
On the first day of school, Martinez told the teen she was beautiful, according to the lawsuit, and then moved her to the front row of the class.
Later that school year, he pulled Doe out of class to tell her that he was distracted by her breasts and to wear less revealing clothing, the lawsuit said.
Martinez asked the teenager to stay for tutoring one day and began to touch her thigh and butt and started to kiss her, the lawsuit said. He then touched her genitals and made her do the same to him.
After their first sexual encounter the teen "felt that she was falling in love with Martinez," according to the lawsuit. Martinez told her that he feared losing his job, and asked her to wait for him until she turned 18 so they could be a couple, the lawsuit filed by Herman Law, said.
The teen promised to protect Martinez.
Doe took Martinez’s psychology class the next school year and their relationship continued, the lawsuit said.
He'd tell Doe, "I need you to wait for me," and "I can't do anything yet," in reference to their relationship, the lawsuit stated.
At one point, the teen gave Martinez a disabled cellphone in class that was loaded with naked photos of herself, "which Martinez viewed approvingly in the classroom," the lawsuit said.
In Doe’s senior year, Martinez was promoted to assistant principal and continued to flirt with the student, although at times he’d ignore her, the lawsuit said.
When the student graduated, she didn’t hear from her former teacher, the lawsuit said, causing her to become severely depressed.
During Doe’s sophomore year the charter school’s CEO, Gregory Hauptner, and school principal Kimberly Collins “had actual notice that Martinez had engaged in sexual harassment of Jane,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claims that Hauptner and Collins made Doe sign a document saying that she didn’t have an inappropriate relationship with her teacher. Her parents were never informed of the document.
The lawsuit claims that the school didn’t act properly to stop or correct the harassment.
"The school breached its duties by failing to protect my client from being sexually assaulted," said Jeff Herman, the victim’s attorney. "She is a brave victim for coming forward and seeking justice."
Hauptner denied the accusations made in the lawsuit during a phone interview Monday, and said that the lawsuit surprised him as it "came out of nowhere."
He said Doe's parents were notified of the accusations against Martinez during Doe's sophomore year of high school, and that area police conducted an investigation of their own last year.
"There is no evidence of any contact or any kind of molestation," Hauptner said. "We are very proactive about things like this and we searched it thoroughly and found nothing."
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