Dismissed: 1 of 2 sexual-contact lawsuits involving teacher

The judge cited the statute of limitations, and that might play a role in a second lawsuit, as well.

SEATTLE — One of two lawsuits alleging sexual contact between a Cascade High School teacher and former students has been dismissed.

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart ruled Tuesday in favor of the Everett School District, former Superintendent Carol Whitehead and teacher Craig Verver, who has been on administrative leave since October 2016.

Robart found that the statute of limitations had expired, according to court records. The woman bringing the lawsuit accused Verver of initiating sexual contact beginning in 2003 and alleged that the district should have prevented the abuse. Her attorney, Darrell Cochran, said Wednesday he plans to appeal the ruling.

“The dismissal is solely based on a technicality regarding when the federal court believes that a lawsuit should have been started,” Cochran said. “The ruling has nothing to do with whether Verver engaged in misconduct.”

A second lawsuit involving another student is scheduled for trial in December.

The case dismissed earlier this week was filed in September 2016. The complaint alleged that Verver began grooming the student during the 2001-2002 school year by singling her out for special treatment and commendations.

In a deposition, Verver acknowledged having sex with his former student on a couch in his classroom. He said the contact occurred after she graduated. He also acknowledged the relationship lasted at least seven years.

The student turned 18 in January 2003, and shortly afterward, the relationship became sexual, according to the lawsuit.

The other lawsuit alleges that Verver started grooming another student for sexual contact shortly after she became enrolled in his AP English class in 2008. In that case, the former student alleges sexual contact inside and outside the classroom and that he used “his position of power” for his own sexual gratification.

The student alleged the contact continued after she graduated and continued for several years.

Verver has denied allegations in the second case.

Everett Superintendent Gary Cohn reported the allegations in both cases to the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, which can conduct its own disciplinary investigation. Verver has been employed at Cascade and with Everett Public Schools since 1997, teaching English and social studies.

In the lawsuit involving the second accuser, the district had an outside investigator look into the allegations in 2012. The former student at that time denied an inappropriate relationship occurred, according to the district.

The lawsuit claims the former student slowly came to realize that she had been abused as she gained experience working in a crisis residential center and also seeing the support that Verver’s other accuser received.

The lawsuit claims that school officials, including two principals, were alerted to concerns about Verver’s behavior but failed to protect students.

The district has disputed the allegations and defended the principals.

Michael Patterson, an attorney representing the school district, said he expects to make an argument that the statute of limitations expired in the second case as well.

“We are in the early stages of discovery on that (second case),” Patterson said. “It’s too early to say when that is going to occur.”

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Ryan Stalkfleet, left to right, and Kenny Hauge, members of the OceanGate submersible crew, explains the vehicles features and operations to Bill McFerren and Kiely McFerren Thursday afternoon at the Port of Everett on December 16, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Everett sub disaster forces global rethinking of deep sea exploration

A year after the OceanGate disaster, an industry wrestles with new challenges for piloted submersibles and robotic explorers.

People board the Mukilteo ferry in Mukilteo, Washington on Monday, June 3, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Washington’s ferry system steers toward less choppy waters

Hiring increases and steps toward adding boats to the state’s fleet are positive developments for the troubled agency.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

Dave Calhoun speaks during a 2017 interview in New York. (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg)
Boeing CEO apologizes for quality and safety issues at Senate hearing

Before the Tuesday hearing, a congressional subcommittee accused Boeing of mismanaging parts and cutting quality inspections.

School board members listen to public comment during a Marysville School Board meeting on Monday, June 3, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. Rinehardt is seated third from left. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Marysville school board president resigns amid turmoil

Wade Rinehardt’s resignation, announced at Monday’s school board meeting, continues a string of tumultuous news in the district.

A BNSF train crosses Grove St/72nd St, NE in Marysville, Washington on March 17, 2022. Marysville recently got funding for design work for an overcrossing at the intersection. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
BNSF owes nearly $400M to Washington tribe, judge rules

A federal judge ruled last year that the railroad trespassed as it sent trains carrying crude oil through the Swinomish Reservation.

Everett Housing Authority is asking for city approval for its proposed development of 16 acres of land currently occupied by the vacant Baker Heights public housing development on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett inches closer to Park District affordable housing plan

Building heights — originally proposed at 15 stories tall — could be locked in with council approval in July.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.