Tahlequah Daily Press

December 10, 2012

Former TPS student suing school district

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A former Tahlequah Public Schools student on Friday filed a civil petition against the district and a former coach who was convicted of sexually assaulting her earlier this year.

Friday’s petition names Lauren Halluin as the plaintiff. Halluin’s Tulsa attorney, Rich Toon, said he tried to file the document Thursday using only Halluin’s initials to protect her privacy, but was told an administrative order is in place requiring her full name be listed in the document.

Toon said Halluin is now 18 years old.

While the Daily Press typically does not name victims of sexual assault cases, Halluin’s name is being used based on the decision of the court to include it in the public filing, and because Halluin has filed against a taxpayer-funded entity.

Halluin’s petition does not indicate the specific monetary amount she is seeking from TPS, or from Bradley Matlock, the second defendant listed in the case. Matlock was convicted last February of second-degree rape and received a five-year prison sentence.

A tort claim notice served to TPS officials last April sought more than $3.7 million from the district and promised legal action if the school did not respond within 90 days of the letter’s receipt.

“Usually, there will be some kind of response from the insurance company, but since they refused to act, we are forced to file the lawsuit,” said Toon. “Now we are going to leave it up to the jury.”

Matlock allegedly had contact with and access to Halluin while she was a student at TPS from 2009 through 2011.

While working for TPS, Matlock “engaged in a series of increasingly intimate interactions with [her], which resulted in repeated instances of inappropriate physical and sexual contact... ,” the petition states.

The physical and sexual contact between Matlock and Halluin happened on campus and during school hours, and also away from school property while Halluin was a minor. Halluin could not consent, under law, to the physical or sexual contact with Matlock, the petition claims.

Because of Matlock’s actions, Halluin faced a “hostile and detrimental educational environment” that detracted from her educational experience.

Halluin claims employees of TPS failed to “timely take appropriate action,” and also failed to develop administrative policies, training, supervision or education that could have prevented, identified, or led to an investigation of Matlock’s misconduct, the petition claims.

Matlock and TPS are both liable to Halluin for “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” according to the filing.

Halluin also claims she was discriminated against and harassed for reporting sexual misconduct, and was coerced into leaving TPS and withdrawing her enrollment.

Halluin’s petition says she has also filed the civil document to “hopefully prevent the extreme and outrageous conduct of [TPS and Matlock] from ever happening to other students.”

Matlock is imprisoned at the John Lilley Correctional Center in Boley, according to court documents.

TPS Superintendent Lisa Presley on Friday said administrators have been anticipating the civil petition, but did not know it had been formally filed.

Presley said the petition will be turned over to the school district’s lawyer.

“The school district’s comments regarding the lawsuit will be limited by the confidentiality imposed by law as to student and personnel records,” according to a prepared statement provided to the Press by Presley. “As a result, the school district’s legal filings will be its primary source of communication related to this lawsuit.”

The statement also indicates the district condemns Matlock’s acts, and denies liability for his conduct.