A former Massachusetts middle school teacher facing rape charges involving a one-time student is also being accused of grooming and sexually assaulting the child in a newly filed civil lawsuit.
The alleged grooming period started when the child was 11-years-old and attending a middle school in Hudson, the lawsuit filed in Norfolk Superior Court states.
The lawsuit names former teacher Caitlin Harding, 37, as well as the town of Hudson, former Hudson Superintendent of Schools Kevin Lyons, former JFK Middle School Principal Brian Daniels, Assistant Principal Matthew Gaffney and a sixth unidentified person as defendants.
Harding has pleaded not guilty after she was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on 10 charges including rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child and other sexual assaults, according to WCVB.
The civil suit states Harding met the student in 2008 when the victim was a 6th grade student at JFK Middle school. The plaintiff in the civil lawsuit is now a resident of Central Massachusetts.
“On numerous occasions during the 2008-2009 academic year, Plaintiff stayed after school to help Defendant Harding in Defendant Harding’s classroom and to socialize with Defendant Harding in Defendant Harding’s classroom,” the suit states.
During that time, “defendant harding openly showed affection toward and engaged in physical contact with Plaintiff,” the lawsuit reads.
The civil suit states that Harding continued to meet with the student even as they were no longer their student.
During the 2009-2010 school year, Gaffney and other staff had a meeting with the victim’s parents and the student was moved “to different classrooms in another section of JFK Middle School, farther away from Defendant Harding’s classroom at the school,” according to the lawsuit.
“JFK Middle School administration and Hudson Public Schools administration apparently failed to investigate or discipline Defendant Harding with regard to JFK Middle School administration’s concerns about Defendant Harding’s attention to minor girls,” the civil suit reads.
The lawsuit claims Harding then began giving rides to another location to the victim and “another minor girl who was a student at JFK Middle School.”
It then escalated to text messages between Harding and the student, the suit claims.
“In her text messages to Plaintiff, Defendant Harding communicated to Plaintiff how much Defendant Harding wanted and loved Plaintiff,” according to the lawsuit.
In 2010, when the student was about 13 years old, the suit claims Harding raped the victim “on at least ten occasions.”
The suit claims Hudson Public School supervisors “knew or should have known that Defendant Harding would interact with and was interacting with minor children in her position at JFK Middle School.”
“The sexual abuse of children by adults, including teachers, is a foreseeable result of negligence,” the suit continues.
Source : https://www.masslive.com/news/2021/10/former-hudson-middle-school-teacher-accused-of-raping-student-now-subject-of-civil-lawsuit.html569