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IPS settles lawsuits stemming from handling of counselor's sex abuse case

Posted at 3:17 PM, May 31, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners approved two settlements Thursday night stemming from its handling of 2016 misconduct case involving a then-IPS counselor.

In one lawsuit, a victim of ex-IPS counselor Shana Taylor filed suit in federal court alleging Indianapolis Public Schools knew of Taylor’s misconduct involving students and turned a “blind eye” to the abuse.

The victim, identified as A.H., sued IPS under Title IX, alleging they failed to keep him safe in his school environment and did not adequately supervise and train its staff at Positive Supports Academy in the Longfellow Alternative School.

PREVIOUS | Lawsuit alleges IPS turned blind eye to counselor’s abuse

A.H’s attorney Eric Schmadeke told Call 6 Investigates Friday he is glad to have brought the matter to a conclusion.

In the other lawsuit, fired IPS employees William Jensen and Deb Leser sued IPS in federal court, alleging they were wrongfully terminated and denied due process.

RELATED | Lawsuit alleges Ferebee covered up Shana Taylor case to get $60,000 raise

Jensen’s attorney Kevin Betz pointed out the district’s policy directed Jensen to contact the head of human resources or the Title IX coordinator, not police or the Indiana Department of Child Services.

Betz also pointed out that IPS failed to terminate most of the members of the “Longfellow 12,” or the individuals who knew about the alleged inappropriate relationship but failed to report it.

MORE | IPS fires assistant principal and administrator in Shana Taylor case

Those individuals include Dr. Lewis Ferebee, Le Boler, Wanda Legrand, Tina Hester, Shalon Dabney, Deb Leser, William Jensen, Mark Cosand, Beryl Borel, Michael Gibbs, Dr. Kevin Brown, and Sandy Bombic.

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IPS provided the following statement to RTV6 Friday.

“While the details of this case are confidential, the IPS Board of School Commissioners and the Administration are happy that we were able to reach a settlement with both parties,” read the statement. “The safety of our students has been and continues to be our top priority.”


Resolution with IPS and victim A.H.

Resolution with IPS and former employees William Jensen and Deb Leser
IPS told Call 6 Investigates the district is making changes in an effort to prevent future incidents of failure to report child abuse allegations, including improved training and policy changes.

CALL 6 | IPS making changes following failures to report

Shana Taylor reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in which she will serve six years on home detention, and will not have to register as a sex offender.

MORE | Prosecutor fires back at criticism over "lenient" deal for ex-counselor | Lawsuit: IPS could have prevented vice principal sexually assaulting student | Attorney: IPS Supt. Ferebee covered up Shana Taylor case to get $60,000 raise

A.H.’s attorney Eric Schmadeke filed a similar lawsuit against IPS in 2015, alleging they could have prevented sexual assault involving then vice principal Corey Greenwood.

Records show the Corey Greenwood case reached a settlement in March 2016.

Taylor pleaded guilty to three felony counts of dissemination of matter harmful to minors. Taylor's agreed sentence is six years on home detention. She can't have contact with the victims.