BRIDGETON, N.J. – A former student in the Millville, New Jersey school district claims that convicted pedophile teacher at the local high school sexually assaulted her as a 14-year-old and gave the girl herpes.
Meagan Jones, now 20, is suing the Millville Board of Education, former Millville Memorial High School Principal Albert Johnson and student assistant counsel Steven Megonigal for failing to protect her from the abuse she suffered at the hands of former math teacher Michael S. Drebes, who was released from prison in June after pleading guilty to sexual assault and official misconduct, the Courier-Post reports.
Drebes, a former math teacher at the high school, was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2010 for sexually assaulting Jones, but was released after only four years, according to the news site.
Jones filed the civil lawsuit in the state’s Superior Court July 3 seeking $450,000 in compensation for the emotional and physical turmoil she suffered as a result of the teacher’s heinous acts.
“She claims the district administration failed to supervise Drebes, failed to investigate evidence of a relationship between her and Drebes, didn’t enforce policies regarding student/teacher relationships and didn’t do a thorough background check on the teacher before hiring him,” according to the Courier-Post. “The nature of those claims are not disclosed in the suit.”
Melville D. Lide, Jones’ attorney, told the news site the relationship started when Drebes kissed Jones at school, and the lawsuit alleges Drebes used force during their first physical contact.
“The relationship started on school grounds,” Lide said.
District officials would not comment on the lawsuit when contacted by the Courier-Post, but instead blathered on about the expectation of teachers to adhere to “the highest ethical standards” and to “behave professionally at all times.”
“We take all reports of misconduct seriously and all reports are investigated thoroughly,” Milleville Superintendent David Gentile told the news site. “When necessary, we work collaboratively with local law enforcement officials.”
Drebes, who could not be reached for comment, is on lifetime parole supervision and must register as a sex offender. He’s also barred from public employment under state law, the Courier-Post reports.