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Victim in A3 sex abuse case intends to sue Springfield School District

The notice claims school district employees knew about the inappropriate relationship but did not notify her parents or report it.

Posted: Mar 9, 2018 5:13 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2018 7:42 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The alleged victim in the sexual abuse allegations against the former Academy of Arts and Academics director Mike Fisher is intending to sue the school district. 

A notice was sent to the superintendent of Springfield Public Schools on Wednesday that said the victim is intending to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for damages she suffered. It claims school district employees knew about the inappropriate relationship but did not notify her parents or report it, which is required under Oregon law.  

A member of the A3 board also resigned on Wednesday. Chelsea Jennings, the former board member, said it was made clear to her that the board didn't have plans to take action on the Fisher case.

Her resignation was spurred on by an email she received from the board on March 3, with a draft of a statement that was going to be sent out in response to the incident where A3 Director Michael Fisher was accused of sex abuse by a former student. Police said he committed suicide last month.

Jennings said she felt like the statement didn't offer any sort of apology to students or community members, and it failed to provide a course of action to protect students. 

She said she attended a public board meeting March 5 and brought up her concerns and suggested changes to the statement. However, she said she received pushback about the changes because other members didn't want to include anything in the statement that could imply guilt.
"I'm hoping that by resigning from the board it allows me to take more action in my community to make an actual difference in this situation," Jennings said. "I'm hoping that it sends a message to not only the board but the district, [and] our community members that something needs to be done."

A police report claims some administrators, including Ed Mendelssohn, the managing director of A3, may have known about the abuse and failed to report it.

Jennings said she is not making any accusations, but if the police report is true, those individuals should be held accountable. She said she believes Mendelssohn should be put on administrative leave until the school can investigate further.

"This is about making sure it never happens to another child ever again, it's about supporting the survivor that is at the core of this entire situation and it's about supporting any other community member, parent or student that has any type of story to tell," Jennings said.

KEZI 9 News has reached out to other members on the board and have not heard back.

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