W. Va. School Board Settles Harassment Lawsuits

June 21, 2004

The Kanawha County Board of Education in West Virginia has settled lawsuits filed on behalf of three girls that accused a teacher at McKinley Middle School of sexual harassment.

The amount of the settlement, which was announced last week in U.S. District Court in Charleston, was not disclosed. Payments to the girls will be made by the state Board of Risk and Insurance Management, the school board’s insurer, which agreed to the settlement, said Bill DePaulo, the girls’ lawyer.

School board President Bill Raglin said the board did not have a say in the settlement.

The lawsuits alleged that Dennis Osborne, a retired art teacher and basketball coach at McKinley, sexually harassed the girls.

One lawsuit filed by Julia Hedrick alleged that Osborne stared and winked at her daughters and called them names such as “Baby,” “Baby girl” and “Honey.”

One daughter was a ninth-grader and the other was a seventh-grader at McKinley Junior High School at the time of alleged incidents in 2001.

Hedrick’s lawsuit accused the school board of covering up the alleged harassment and doing nothing to stop it.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a fourth girl against Osborne and the school board is still pending.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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