A Kentucky school district that has seen four employees charged with child sex offenses in an 18-month span faces new allegations in court, but is trying to reassure parents that student safety is a top priority.
Grayson County High School's principal and the district superintendent allegedly knew about the actions of a teacher who was accused in 2016 of raping a student but did nothing to stop him, a lawsuit filed in Grayson Circuit Court claims.
Gavin Logsdon was the first of four Grayson County School teachers who has been arrested for sexual misconduct allegations in the last 18 months. The school district has faced statewide scrutiny, and has now set up an anonymous tip line.
Principal Todd Johnston and superintendent Doug Robinson did not take any action to suspend or monitor Logsdon when they allegedly knew about his behavior, according to the complaint filed by the parents of the rape victim.
In the lawsuit provided to the Herald-Leader from the Grayson County News-Gazette, the parents claim Logsdon, who was a teacher and baseball coach at the high school, engaged with the then-minor and other female students "in such a fashion that other school teachers and administrators commented on the frequency and intimacy among themselves and to Defendant Logsdon."
The 17-year-old girl and then-30-year-old Logsdon lived in the same neighborhood and had a romantic relationship that began June of 2016 and continued through November of that year, according to the lawsuit.
Johnston, who was recently promoted to Director of District-Wide Programs, allegedly met with Logsdon in August 2016 to express his concerns and observations about his relationship with the juvenile, the lawsuit states.
Robinson also met with the teacher to tell him that a "trustworthy person" told him that the teacher and the girl were seen in Logsdon's vehicle at the elementary school, the parents state in the complaint. Robinson told Logsdon to "be careful, for no other purpose than to help Defendant Logsdon avoid getting caught committing a crime with a student."
Johnston later approved the transfer of the girl to Logsdon's class, at Logsdon's request, the lawsuit states. The inappropriate relationship deepened following the transfer, according to the parents. Johnston later did remove the girl from Logsdon's class because of "suspicions," according to the complaint.
Logsdon was arrested Nov. 22 by Kentucky State Police following an investigation. He admitted to having an ongoing relationship with the juvenile that included sexual intercourse, state police said.
Johnston and Robinson allegedly urged the parents of the minor to "either leave school for the remainder of the semester or enroll in the Homebound Program," because of "how dearly persons at the school 'loved' Logsdon."
The girl had to leave the school and enroll in the district's Homebound home instruction program after ridicule and harassment at the school, which the school's administration did nothing about, the lawsuit alleges.
Logsdon has been out of jail since November 2016 and is awaiting trial. His father, Gary Logsdon, was the Grayson County Judge Executive for two decades until his resignation last August.
In a statement released to multiple media outlets, Robinson commented on the allegations from the lawsuit.
"As soon as this matter came to the attention of school district officials, Mr. Logsdon was suspended pending an investigation," Robinson said. "He resigned six days later. Based on our investigation, the administrators did everything reasonably possible to protect students in the District."
Two teachers in the school district have been accused of child sex abuse this month.
John Cariel, 66, is charged with first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree sodomy, using electronic communications to "procure" a minor for sex and distribution of obscene matter to minors, according to the Grayson County jail.
Leitchfield police told LEX 18 that the charges against Cariel, a teacher at Grayson County Middle School, stem from a relationship with a student in October 2017.
Earlier this month, Roger D. Williams, 62, of Clarkson, was charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and a count of possession of child pornography, according to Kentucky State Police. Williams was working as a word processing teacher at Grayson County High School at the time, according to K105 out of Leitchfield.
In March, Jonathan D. Jones was charged with third degree sodomy, according to court records. Jones, who was a teacher and assistant boys soccer coach at Grayson County High School, was accused of having a relationship with a 17-year-old student, according to The Grayson County News-Gazette.
"This many times in a short amount of time is disheartening," Leitchfield Police Captain Brandon Cook told reporters, according to WHAS. "These people are adults, they're going to have to act like adults. If these people are going to make these decisions, they're going to have to live with the consequences."
Following the fourth arrest in 18 months, Robinson sent a letter to parents to address concerns.
"I've long held that in any community there should be two safe heavens — church and schools," he stated. "And right now, some are doubting that Grayson County Schools should be included on that short list.
"We've seen recently that the 'see something, say something' mantra we've encouraged, especially this year, is working," he stated. "Recent events, while more troubling, have brought to light the consequences of inappropriate conduct, especially with students."
The school will launch an anonymous tip line to report bullying, inappropriate behavior, mental health issues and a suicide crisis line, Robinson said.
Robinson promised to work to rebuild trust with families and the community.
"We will take a variety of additional steps to increase awareness, as well as strengthen professional development in the areas of ethics, student interaction and professional relationships, and appropriate technology use," Robinson said in his letter.