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Girl sexually assaulted by teacher sues school districts

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
 

Charleroi Area School District and Bethlehem-Center School District failed to protect a 15-year-old girl sexually assaulted by a teacher in May 2012, the girl and her parents say in a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

The girl, now 17, says that Charleroi and high school Principal Patricia Mason denied her counseling during school days, failed to stop her harassment by other students, failed to remove her blood stain from the wall where her attacker rammed her head during the assault and fostered a hostile atmosphere at the school.

Representatives and solicitors for the two districts couldn't be reached for comment.

The lawsuit doesn't identify the victim or her parents, referring to them under pseudonyms.

Jeffrey Hahn, 25, of Belle Vernon pleaded guilty to the assault in April 2013 and is serving a state prison sentence of four to eight years.

He was a seventh-grade teacher in Bethlehem-Center on loan to Charleroi to direct the high school's spring musical.

The parents and victim are suing the two districts, Mason and Jennifer Mason Joyce, the teacher in charge of the musical who recruited Hahn.

Bethlehem-Center knew of previous inappropriate contacts between Hahn and other female students and failed to fully investigate the complaints or discipline him, the lawsuit says.

The victim told Joyce of inappropriate contacts by Hahn that preceded the attack, but she ignored the allegations and didn't report them to police as required by state law, according to the lawsuit.

Police charged Joyce with failing to report suspected child abuse and she was placed in a 12-month pretrial diversion program in January 2013, according to Washington County court records.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Contact him at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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