METROPOLIS, Ill. - A woman has filed a lawsuit against the Massac Unit School District and four individuals, including a teacher who the woman says molested her when she was in elementary school.
The alleged victim charges that her teacher, Darryl Bentson, sexually assaulted her at Franklin Elementary School in Metropolis in 1985. The victim alleges that she was physically and sexually assaulted at several locations at the school. She alleges the sexual assaults took place in a P.E. storage room and physical abuse occurred on the school playground. She also alleges that Bentson was verbally derisive and referred to her repeatedly as “fat and lazy.”
According to the suit, the girl’s mother was approached in 1982 by another teacher who warned her to look out for her daughter by saying she “was the type that Bentson liked to pick on.”
School officials allegedly chastised Bentson in the early 1980’s for “leering” at girls in the locker room, but the suit says Bentson was allowed to have continued, unsupervised access to children and the school never investigated the claims brought against him.
The suit is filed in the US District Court in Benton, Ill. In addition to Bentson and the district, it names three other defendants: William Hatfield, the district’s current superintendent, Donald Smith, the ex-superintendent who headed the district when the alleged crimes happened, and Reuben Bremer, who was the principal of Franklin Elementary when the alleged assaults took place.
Bentson was employed by the district “in various capacities, including at various times, teacher, lunch monitor, and recess supervisor,” the suit says. The eleven-count suit seeks unspecified compensatory and exemplary damages for the harm and stress caused to Jane Doe. The suit was filed on March 27.
One of the student’s attorneys, Ken Chackes, said: “The primary goal of the courageous young woman who is bringing this case is to protect other children from the kind of abuse she endured as a child. If there are other victims of this teacher or other teachers, they should contact the police as soon as possible.”