Former Ashtabula Teacher and School Board Member Accused of Sexual Abuse in Lawsuit
A federal lawsuit has been filed by a group of former students from the Ashtabula Area City School District, alleging that they were sexually abused by a former teacher and coach during the late 1980s.
The explosive allegations have raised concerns about a potential cover-up of sexual abuse within the Ashtabula City School District.
According to the civil lawsuit, which was filed by six former Ashtabula High School students, Christine Seaford, a former teacher and school board member, is accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with the students.
The alleged abuse took place decades ago, and the suit claims that the school district attempted to conceal the incidents.
The lawsuit accuses Seaford of grooming the students by granting them access to her house and vehicle, providing them with alcohol, and engaging in provocative sexual behavior and activity.
One of the women involved, Shelly Chapman, claims that her parents informed the district about the abuse, but no action was taken.
Furthermore, the basketball coach at the time reportedly heard about the allegations but instead threatened to suspend the student players involved.
Although the statute of limitations has expired for these incidents, they came to light in November 2021 when an anonymous letter was sent to the school board, exposing Seaford’s alleged misconduct.
Attorney Eric Long, representing the plaintiffs, aims to hold Seaford accountable for her actions.
He expressed his disappointment, stating, “We would like to think that these people are in a position to help our students, help our children.
And ultimately it falls on the board, that falls on the district as a whole to protect our children.
And certainly that didn’t happen here.”
In response to the lawsuit, the school district issued a recent statement affirming their full cooperation with the legal process.
They also noted that they had investigated the claims when they initially came to light in 2021, but the prosecutors declined to press charges due to the significant amount of time that had passed.
The unfolding case has raised serious concerns within the community, and updates on the situation are expected to follow.
The disturbing allegations highlight the need for a comprehensive investigation and the importance of ensuring the safety and protection of students within the education system.