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Family suing local parties for $16.5M total for “emotional distress,” other damages

Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 8:00 am

Claiming emotional distress and other unspecified damages, a teenaged girl and her parents have sued Northumberland County’s sheriff and school board for more money than the county will have spent on its schools all this year.
In a suit filed in Richmond County on Feb. 14, the parents and girl, all identified by only initials, seek a total of $16,500,000. In addition to Derek Jones — who admitted to sexual crimes against the girl who was 15 at the time and is now in prison for them — Sheriff C.A. Wilkins, former Superintendent of Schools Clint Stables, former high school principal David Dixon, former vice-principal Darrell Long, teacher John Poindexter, coach Ryan Stevens and the school board itself are named as defendants.
In the complaint, which exceeds 100 pages in length, the parents’ lawyers, Chris Stamm of Irvington and Wayne Nunnally of White Stone and the girl’s lawyer, J. Michael Sharmer of Culpeper, describe Jones, who was a deputy and the high school’s resource officer at the time, having sexual activities with the girl in his office and at other places in the school and taking her places in the cruiser assigned him as a deputy. They also maintain he had sex with the girl on a school athletic trip to Salem about a week before the case broke open in late February, 2012.
The complaint alleges that the girl’s presence in the cruiser was noted in sheriff’s department logs and that Wilkins was grossly negligent for not checking on why the girl was in the cruiser as well as not reviewing what was on Jone’s department-issued cell phone. If he had, the suit alleges that he would have seen inappropriate messages between Jones and the girl.
The complaint alleges Dixon, Long and Wilkins were remiss in not taking more stern steps against Jones when he was noted as having the girl in his office with the door locked and windows covered. The suit notes that all counseled Jones on the subject but did not do more. Stables is included as a defendant because he had overall supervisory authority over the high school. The school board’s alleged culpability is similar. Poindexter is included as a defendant because he allegedly did not report the girl’s frequent absences during the first period class when he taught her at which times she was with Jones. Stevens is included because he did not take action or report it when he saw the girl in Jones’ bed during the athletic trip to Salem. Stevens and Jones were the team’s coaches.
Among other allegations, the complaints assert that the defendants should have known about Jones’ misdeed because there had been an earlier…

—Pick up the February 26 issue of the Northumberland Echo to read the full story!