Teacher charged with abusing 8 children; lawsuit says school system failed to protect students
BENTON, La. — School administrators in the Bossier Parish School system failed in their duty to protect students from a pedophile teacher, the parents of a 9-year-old allege in a lawsuit filed amid an expanding investigation of the P.E. teacher at Benton Elementary School, according to KTBS.
The suit came shortly before law officers filed additional charges alleging six more children were victimized.
Aubrey “Perry” Norcross, 47, of Bossier City now is accused of victimizing eight children. He is charged with one count of child rape, four counts of molestation of a juvenile, two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and one count of video voyeurism.
Authorities have not said if all of the children were in Norcross’ physical education classes at Benton Elementary.
In the lawsuit, the parents of the little girl say the Bossier Parish school system failed in its obligation to recognize or address the actions of Norcross, the child’s P.E. teacher at Benton Elementary.
The child was a victim of “despicable acts … during the school day,” the suit said. School officials had an obligation to train employees to recognize signs of abuse and investigate when there were signs of it but did neither, the suit said, without detailing specific allegations.
“The Bossier Parish School Board breached its duty to provide a safe educational environment for students at Benton Elementary when it negligently hired, supervised and retained Aubrey Norcross,” said the suit filed Thursday in Bossier District Court.
Named as defendants are the school system and Norcross, who was arrested last week on charges of video voyeurism with one student and rape of another.
Because a child is involved, KTBS News is not identifying the parents in the lawsuit.
“We are still in the process of determining how significant the situation is,” said the parents’ attorney, Chance Nerren of the Shreveport law firm Morris, Dewitt & Savoie. “There will be depositions to get to the bottom of this thing. We have an idea how most people feel about situations like this and what the community is going to say about this.”
Nerren would not disclose details about the 9-year-old girl’s current situation except to say “she is receiving the best care this area can provide.” She has been a student at Benton Elementary since she was 5 years old.
School system Superintendent Scott Smith insists school administrators had no suspicion a teacher was doing anything improper. The school system’s attorney, John Guice, declined comment on the suit since it is in litigation.
The 47-year-old Norcross, who used to coach Benton Elementary’s championship archery team, is jailed under $2 million bond. He has not been arraigned.
Speaking at a community meeting earlier this week, Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington said more people came forward with concerns or allegations against Norcross after his arrest was publicized. He said the children were boys and girls.
Sheriff’s detectives have taken children to the Gingerbread House for interviews and have been reviewing school security video, computers and at least one cell phone as part of their investigation.
Edward Mouton, the attorney for the child who is the alleged victim of the video voyeurism, said Norcross used his cell phone during gym class to record the child “for a lewd or lascivious purpose.” Surveillance video verifies that happened, Mouton said.
Thursday’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering and mental anguish.
Story provided by CNN Newsource