The parents of a student who was sexually assaulted by a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina middle school teacher are suing Horry County School District for failing to take the action after two students reported the same teacher for sexual harassment, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
The Horry County parents — who were not named in the lawsuit — said in the lawsuit that their daughter was sexually assaulted by Ocean Bay Middle School choral director Paul Inman just days after another female student reported a similar incident with the same teacher.
Both girls were students in Inman’s class in December 2019, according to the lawsuit.
During class, Inman “placed his hand on (one of the girl’s) lower back, rubbed her back, patted her shoulders, and touched her upper breast area on multiple occasions,” the lawsuit said.
It got to the point where the girl was so uncomfortable, she wore baggy clothes to school to avoid Inman’s unwanted attention, the lawsuit said.
On December 16, 2019, the student told her mother about Inman’s disturbing behavior, the lawsuit said. The mother reported it to Principal Barbara McGinnis the next day.
McGinnis “spent less than 15 minutes” with the student alleging her teacher sexually assaulted her and told her “it was probably nothing,” she said, according to the lawsuit.
The principal told the student who was reporting sexual harassment that “Inman was passionate about his job,” but she would look into it, the lawsuit said.
However, district officials did not immediately investigate the allegations and Inman continued his duties as a teacher in the classroom.
On December 17, 2019, a different female student (whose parents are suing) was pulled to the side by Inman during an after-school choir practice, the lawsuit said.
Inman then touched the student’s lower back and butt, according to the lawsuit.
The student immediately told her mother, who contacted McGinnis the next day to report the sexual assault, the lawsuit said.
On December 18, 2019, the student’s mother filed a sexual harassment complaint form with the school and McGuinnis told her she would investigate and get back to her, the lawsuit said. The student’s mother also reported the incident to the Horry County Police Department, according to the lawsuit.
McGinnis called both of the students who made complaints against Inman and got their statements, according to the lawsuit.
McGinnis did not notify parents that she was interviewing students
about the sexual assault allegations.
Inman was placed on administrative leave on December 20.
According to the lawsuit, Inman is still employed with the Horry County School District.
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The student’s parents are suing the Horry County School District for gross negligence, negligent supervision, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and title IX violations.
The school district “had actual knowledge of the sexual harassment
of (the first student) created by its failure to investigate and discipline Inman in a timely manner and consistent with its own policy and federal and state law,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claims that if they appropriately investigated the first allegation, the second student wouldn’t have been assaulted.
Horry County School District “engaged in a pattern and practice of behavior designed to discourage and dissuade students and parents of students who had been sexually assaulted from seeking prosecution and protection and from seeking to have sexual assaults from being fully investigated,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit does not say if Inman was charged in the incidents.
Attorney Samantha Albrecht, who is also representing the two University of South Carolina instructors allegedly sexually harassed at work by professor David Voros, is representing the parents in the case.
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