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This breakfast invitation, according to Doe, was the beginning of the molestation.
At trial, Doe testified that he spent approximately ninety-five percent of his eighth-grade year in the dean's office, rather than in class.
The Does filed this lawsuit under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U. However, we conclude the Does are entitled to a new trial for three reasons.
The trial court erred when it: (1) granted summary judgment in favor of Brady Smith, because Titles VI and IX do not shield an alleged child molester from the prospect of individual liability for his constitutional tort, (2) excluded Smith's 2001 conviction for soliciting another middle school student for sex, and (3) denied the Does' motion to reconsider admitting a witness's testimony that Smith sexually abused him in the late 1970's.
Before COFFEY, EVANS, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges. Bullock (argued), Nally, Bauer, Feinen, Bullock & Mann, Champaign, IL, for Plaintiffs-Appellants. This case involves disturbing allegations of child molestation committed by a public school official. At trial, a jury found no liability on the remaining claims.
Young, Chilton Yambert Porter & Young, Chicago, IL, for Defendants-Appellees. Prior to trial, the district court granted summary judgment to the school district and the individually named defendants on the Does' section 1983 claims.
Two weeks later, in early November 1996, despite an ongoing police and state agency investigation, Smith returned to work as the dean. Although not every action by a state employee occurs under color of state law, we conclude the district court erred in this case. Viewing the facts in the light favorable to the Does, a jury could reasonably conclude that Smith was acting under color of state law when he withheld Doe from class allegedly to sexually groom him for subsequent abuse. Waymire, 114 F.3d 646, 647 (7th Cir.1997) (assuming without discussion that a police officer acted under color of state law when he molested a thirteen year-old girl while escorting her home after curfew).
Indeed, the school district's superintendent called Smith and welcomed him back without imposing any restrictions on his contact with students. “Action is taken under color of state law when it is made possible only because the wrongdoer is clothed with the authority of state law.” Hughes v. Because Title IX does not preempt the Does' section 1983 claims against Smith and because there is a triable issue of fact as to whether Smith was acting under color of law when he allegedly abused Doe, judgment as a matter of law was improper.
Smith never helped Doe with his homework or studies during these extended office visits; instead, according to the Does, Smith used the time to sexually groom John Doe.
For instance, one Friday in February 1996, while in the dean's office, Smith invited Doe to have breakfast with him.
While there, Doe told his mother of the abuse and sent a hand-written letter to the juvenile court judge stating that he was finally ready to explain why he did not go to school. Therefore, we affirm the grant of summary judgment in favor of school officials Cain, Fletcher, Hansen, and Shepard in their individual capacities. “The legislators who enacted Title IX would be startled to discover that by doing so they had killed all federal remedies for sex discrimination by teachers of which the school lacked actual knowledge.” Id. Ruling on the plaintiffs' motion for a new trial, the district court modified its summary-judgment opinion and held that, under our decision in Delgado, the Does could maintain their section 1983 claims against Smith. Assuming Doe's version of the facts is true (as we must do at the summary-judgment stage), Smith's opportunity to molest him that day was made possible because Smith used his authority as the dean to persuade the juvenile court judge to release Doe to his custody.
Smith was placed on administrative leave while the local police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigated Doe's allegations. The Does also assert constitutional claims against the school district and school officials pursuant to 42 U. The third relevant principle of Delgado is simple enough: Title IX does not immunize from section 1983 liability a defendant who uses his position in a federally funded education program to sexually harass and abuse students. Title IX has two important anti-discrimination objectives: “to avoid the use of federal resources to support discriminatory practices” and “to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices.” Cannon, 441 U. The court concluded that summary judgment for Smith was nonetheless proper because Smith's abuse was not state action, which is required to proceed under section 1983. More generally, the Does contend that, while supervising students on the playground, Smith would often single Doe out and instruct him to report to Smith's office, where allegedly he would isolate and sexually groom Doe.
Doe had been in an altercation with his gym teacher and landed himself in juvenile court for assault. New Venture Gear, Inc., 361 F.3d 965, 974 (7th Cir.2004), and affirm the grant of summary judgment in favor of the school district and individually named school officials, but reverse summary judgment as to Brady Smith. To be sure, the question of whether Title IX preempted a section 1983 suit against a federally funded education program was not before us in Delgado because, in that case, the college student did not assert a section 1983 claim against her university.