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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Smyrna High student files suit to sue school district, former teacher

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  • A Smyrna High School student filed a civil lawsuit in Kent County Superior Court Tuesday against former SHS math teacher Donovan Garvin and the Smyrna School District for acts of sexual assault and battery which were committed upon her on school property.
    According to the press release sent out by the law firm of Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., stated that Plaintiff Jane Doe alleges that from 2012-2013, when she was 15 years old, she was sexually abused on at least 10 occasions by Garvin, who was her teacher on the school property. The release states fellow SHS teachers told Garvin that his relationship with the plaintiff was inappropriate and that he should stay away from the student, but did not report this to the police or school authorities.
    Smyrna School District Superintendent Debbie Wicks said on Friday that she is unable to comment on the lawsuit.
    “State and federal law prohibits the district from discussing confidential personnel matters. Generally speaking, however, I can say that the district thoroughly investigates with police allegations of employee misconduct,” Wicks said.
    Garvin was arrested and charged in Jan. 2013 with 10 counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust and one count of sexual solicitation of a child under the age of 18 to engage in a prohibited act. Garvin pled guilty to first-degree sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust or authority and was sentenced on Aug. 28, 2013. During the sentencing, the press release states the deputy attorney general informed the court that Garvin was let go by other school districts for other allegations or inappropriate sexual contact with students.
    “It is unfortunate that this teacher used his position of power and authority to prey on this vulnerable female student. What is more troubling is that the suit alleges that other teachers warned Garvin to stay away from the plaintiff apparently recognizing the inappropriateness of their relationship. Still more troubling is that recently, between April 26, 2014 and May 4, 2014 there were reports of the arrests of three other teachers in Delaware public schools for sexually abusing students, including a teacher employed by Smyrna High School,” said the plaintiff’s attorney Raeann Warner. “If anyone has information relating to Garvin’s termination from other school districts for inappropriate sexual contact with students we ask you to come forward to help the plaintiff in her case.”
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