Two former Detroit Public Schools students allege their special education teacher sexually assaulted them inside Henry Ford High School and that the district was aware of the teacher’s improper conduct with another student years earlier, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court this week.
The students filed the case Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit against the district, former DPS special education teacher Larry Riccardo Moore and four school administrators. Both women, who are now 18, were special education students at DPS and are not being identified by The Detroit News. They no longer attend school.
The abuse is alleged to have occurred between 2007 and 2010 at the high school, which closed in 2011. According to the lawsuit, one student said she was in a sexual relationship with Moore while she was a junior, while the other woman alleges Moore sexually assaulted her.
DPS did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the lawsuit.
Teri Gorman, an attorney for the women, said DPS had noticed that Moore had been abusing victims as far back as 2003 at the district’s Redford High School and took no action. He moved to Ford High School in 2007.
According to the suit, one woman alleges that from 2007 to 2009, Moore threatened to kill her and her family if she divulged the sexual relationship to anyone. She said the sexual activity occurred in the classroom, at his home, in his car and at a hotel.
She gave the district photographs of Moore and herself in a hotel room and at Moore’s home, according to Gorman.
In the spring of 2009, the girl told an English teacher about the sexual relationship, and the teacher told a curriculum leader at the high school, the suit alleges.
Attorneys for the women said DPS took no action against Moore in 2009, despite the complaint and others like it from other students.
Then in May 2010, Moore allegedly assaulted the second student, who sued. The suit says when she and Moore were alone in his classroom, Moore approached her from behind and fondled her breasts. When the student rose to leave, Moore allegedly unzipped his pants and exposed himself.
Moore was charged with violation of DPS work rules and unprofessional conduct in 2011. He was terminated in the spring that year.
Later that year, the woman who said she was in a relationship with Moore obtained a personal protection order against him after he continued to harass her into continuing the relationship, according to the suit.
In February, Moore was convicted by a Wayne County jury of one court of criminal sexual conduct 4th-degree and indecent exposure. He was sentenced to six month in jail and probation and remains in jail.
The case alleges civil rights violations, gross negligence by DPS and its administrators, violation of Title IX, which prohibits sexual harassment of students by educators, and assault and battery by Moore. The women are asking for a jury trial and for the court to award damages to them
Source : detroitnews