Teacher faces suit alleging past sexual abuse of student

EVERETT — A teacher at Cascade High School has been placed on leave after a lawsuit was filed against him and the school district that alleges sexual abuse committed against a student about 13 years ago.

The suit filed Sept. 30 in U.S. District Court in Seattle names Craig Verver, a teacher of AP English, AP Seminar and Philosophy at Cascade, as the defendant. The plaintiff is a former student, identified in court papers only by her initials.

Cascade Principal Cathy Woods sent a note to Verver’s students and their families Oct. 27 that explained he was on leave for personal reasons and that classes were being shifted to other teachers.

“Mr. Verver was placed on administrative leave immediately following the district’s receipt of the civil lawsuit,” district spokeswoman Leanna Albrecht said.

Verver’s leave began Oct. 4, she said.

A second message sent to all Cascade families Tuesday acknowledged a lawsuit had been filed by a former student, alleging an “inappropriate relationship” in early 2000, a date that is earlier than what is mentioned in the suit.

The suit also names as co-defendants the Everett School District and former Superintendent Carol Whitehead.

The complaint alleges that Verver began grooming the student during the 2001-2002 school year by singling her out for special treatment and commendations. This continued the following school year, when Verver allegedly increased his attention on her during and after school.

The student turned 18 in January 2003, and shortly afterward the relationship became sexual, the suit states.

Verver’s attorney said that’s not true.

“The allegations are denied, and we will vigorously defend Mr. Verver in court,” Michael J. Andrews said.

The district and Whitehead, who retired in 2009, also deny any allegations of responsibility.

Verver continues to be paid while on leave, Albrecht confirmed.

According to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Verver’s total compensation for the 2015-2016 school year was $95,557, which includes a $66,739 base salary.

Verver has never been investigated by the OSPI for any wrongdoing, said Nathan Olson, a spokesman for the office.

Verver has been employed at Cascade and with Everett Public Schools since 1997, teaching English and social studies. A jury trial date has been tentatively proposed in February 2018.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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