Labor and Employment Law

Sidwell Friends Grad Says School Permitted Sexual Affair

A highly sensational case filed recently against the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., may end up raising interesting legal questions about the responsibility of private schools to supervise the actions of their school psychologists. In the $10 million civil suit filed in D.C. Superior Court, Arthur Newmyer, father of a kindergarten student at Sidwell, alleges that Jack Huntington, while working as the school psychologist and counseling Newmyer's daughter, carried on a sexual affair with Newmyer's wife, Tara, a former associate attorney at Dickstein Shapiro LLP, a large Washington law firm. So far, at least three judges have recused themselves from the case, apparently due to their close ties to the prestigious institution.

Earlier this year, Huntington left the school. The lawsuit contends that he was fired after the school learned about sexually explicit e-mails that Huntington sent to Tara Newmyer from the school's computer system. According to the complaint, Huntington and Tara Newmyer arranged "play dates" for the girl so that they could meet and carry on their clandestine affair. The counseling sessions, the complaint says, occurred off school property.

A spokesman for Sidwell has said that the school will "vigorously defend" itself against allegations that he said were "completely without merit." The explosive allegations in the lawsuit filed by Arthur Newmyer, himself a Sidwell graduate who has been extremely active in supporting the school over the years, have become a major topic of discussion at the private school, whose students include President Obama's daughters Malia and Sasha.

Read the rest of the article at the Virginia Business Litigation Lawyer blog

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