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Civil suit filed against Grant County Schools after former teacher allegedly sexual assaulted student

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 6:49 PM EDT
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GRANT COUNTY, W. Va. (WHSV) - The family of a former student at Petersburg High School who was sexually assaulted by her teacher has filed a lawsuit against the Grant County Board of Education.

Back in August, Jonathan McNemar, a former teacher at Petersburg High School, was arrested on several counts for allegedly sexually assaulting a former student in 2018.

JB Akers, the lawyer representing the family of the former student, told WHSV the lawsuit was filed last week.

“This will hopefully give her like you said some closure," Akers said. "But also a sense that she was able to fight back, that she was not a victim.”

Akers said the civil suit was filed against McNemar and the school division for not acting on warning signs the family said they discovered after McNemar was arrested.

“People would reach out to them [the family] and say things they were aware of dating back to a couple of years," Akers said. "For example some things that were described to them as red flags to the school in terms of red flags that this teacher was engaged in.”

He said the family was told one of those signs was how McNemar allegedly allowed his classroom to be an open space for students to see him individually.

The lawyer said the family is worried others may have been assaulted as well.

“This teacher apparently would allow the use of his classroom when there were no other students present as a hang out for other underage female students," Akers said. "That’s a place where he would let them come hang out individually when no one else was there.”

At the end of August, the school division formally accepted McNemar’s resignation from his job

Doug Lambert, division superintendent, said they have not yet received any notification of the lawsuit.

“As of this moment, we have not been served any such legal action," Lambert said. "Through social media and other avenues, word has been made that such a complaint has been filed, and obviously, once we receive and review such complaint, an appropriate comment will be made.”

McNemar’s criminal case has moved to the Grant County Circuit Court. The clerk’s office told WHSV the case is currently waiting for indictments before moving forward.

The next Grand Jury in Grant County will meet on Nov. 5. If indicted McNemar will be arraigned on Nov. 9.

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