Second former student files abuse claim against teacher

The woman says Cascade High School’s Craig Verver had sexual contact with her on campus.

EVERETT — A second former student has stepped forward with allegations in federal court that a longtime Cascade High School teacher had sexual contact with her on the campus.

The students’ allegations are outlined in separate lawsuits.

The first case was filed in September 2016. The complaint alleges that Craig Verver began grooming the student during the 2001-2002 school year by singling her out for special treatment and commendations. This allegedly continued the following school year, when Verver allegedly increased his attentions during and after school.

In a June 8 deposition, Verver acknowledged having sex with his former student on a couch in his classroom. He said the contact occurred after she had graduated. He acknowledged the relationship lasted at least seven years.

The student turned 18 in January 2003, and shortly afterward the relationship became sexual, the lawsuit states. A trial date is scheduled for early 2018.

On Monday, a second former student filed a lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Verver started grooming the student for sexual contact shortly after she became enrolled in his AP English class in 2008. The 24-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, outlines escalating sexual contact between Verver and the student, inside and outside the classroom.

The student alleged the contact continued after she graduated and began attending college. She allegedly broke off the relationship earlier this year.

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 Verver’s other accuser received.

She “is still learning about and uncovering the damage she suffered as she furthers her understanding of the traumatic bonds that sexual abuse creates, and the ways that victims of such betrayal and abuse come to desperately identify with their abusers to cope with and survive trauma,” wrote her attorneys Darrell Cochran and Kevin Hastings.

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

In the new complaint, the lawyers quote from depositions, including from a teacher who reported that a colleague raised concerns in the early 2000s after seeing Verver allegedly caressing a female student’s face. She said she shared the concerns with then-Principal James Dean​, who is listed as a defendant.​

The lawsuit alleges the district ignored the allegation and failed to report to authorities the concerns raised by the teacher despite its mandatory duty.

​Another former teacher reported telling Principal Cathy Woods in the fall of 2008 about inappropriate texts between Verver and the former student who filed the most recent lawsuit.​

In one of the texts Verver asked the teen what she was wearing. The lawsuit alleged that Woods dismissed the report and told the teacher she was being “gossipy.”

​The teen’s father met with Woods in 2010 after the former student’s younger brother reported seeing Verver kiss the girl in the teacher’s classroom after hours. He also was concerned about his daughter’s slipping grades.

The teen denied the kiss and Woods allegedly told the girl’s father the school would “handle it,” according to the lawsuit.

Woods also is named as a defendant, as is Verver.

“The School Defendants had actual knowledge that Craig Verver was a predator who targeted minor female students for sexual assaults,” the plaintiff’s lawyers wrote.

The lawsuit accuses the district of “systematically quashing all significant concerns that were being raised about Verver over the years.”​

Cochran specializes in cases involving school district sex abuse cases.

The second lawsuit was filed after the former student read accounts involving the first accuser.

“She became incensed by what Verver had done and by what the district had failed to do,” Cochran said.

District officials said they cannot discuss pending litigation and a pending investigation. The district had not yet been served with the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon.

“We want parents to know their students’ safety is our paramount priority,” said Leanna Albrecht, a school district spokeswoman. The district was preparing a message for parents about the new allegations Tuesday.

Verver has been on administrative leave since October 2016 after the first civil lawsuit was filed.

“With regards to the new complaint, Mr. Verver denies the allegations against him and it is his intent to fight this in court … not in the newspaper or any other media,” said Everett attorney Michael Andrews, who is representing Verver.

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

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