Indiana School District Says Student Could Have Avoided Sex With Coach

June 5, 2012

An Indiana teenager who had sex with her high school volleyball coach knew what she was doing and assumed all risk, according to court documents the school district filed this week in response to an $18.7 million lawsuit filed by the girl’s family.

The family filed the lawsuit last week against the LaPorte Community School Corp., maintaining schools officials ignored signs the two were involved in a relationship. The lawsuit says the district 25 miles west of South Bend didn’t properly supervise its employees or provide a safe environment for the girl, The Times of Munster reported. The lawsuit alleges the girl, who was 15 when the relationship began, had sex with the coach about 25 times between 2007 and 2009.

Former LaPorte High School junior varsity volleyball coach Robert Ashcraft, who is now 47, was found guilty last year of three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of child seduction. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

The lawsuit seeks damages from the state, the school district, Athletic Director Edward Gilliland, head volleyball coach MaryBeth Lebo and Ashcraft.

The district, Gilliland and Lebo have been charged with failing to report the sex crimes to police or child protective services. Those cases are pending in LaPorte Superior Court.

An attorney for the LaPorte Community Schools previously said a school employee reported suspicions about Ashcraft to the Department of Child Services and to police in 2008.

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