The Press Newspaper
Three lawsuits were filed on Monday, September 9 in Lucas County Common Pleas Court by former Clay High School students and athletes who allege a former athletic trainer sexually abused them while they were minors.
The three complaints, one by a minor, were filed against Clay High School, Principal Jeff Thompson, ProMedica Health Systems, and Melinda Rober, the former athletic trainer. The suits are each seeking in excess of $1 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
Rober, 35, was arraigned in April, in Oregon Municipal Court. She was charged with two counts of sexual battery after allegedly having sexual relations with two underage male students over the last 18 months.
In May, Rober was indicted by a Lucas County Grand Jury. The pre-trial hearing on the criminal case is scheduled for September 25 in front of Judge Gary Cook.
In April, Oregon School Board President PJ Kapfhammer told The Press that the district took immediate action when the first alleged victim came forward in April.
Kapfhammer said he notified the administration and the Oregon Police Department immediately.
A second alleged victim also come forward Kapfhammer said adding he had spoken to four to five more students who had “asked for help.”
Kapfhammer told The Press in April there had been rumors concerning Rober for some time.
“There were rumors, but nothing even close to this,” he said. “It looks like a lot of boys knew and this stuff was known by the group. Some of the victims did not tell anyone, period. We are just beginning to understand some of the things that went on. As soon as there was a hint that the rumor was real, we immediately made sure the kids were safe and taken care of.”
One suit alleges Ms. Rober engaged in sexual activity in 2008 and 2009 with the student that “Included but was not limited to groping, sexually suggestive conduct, including grabbing his private parts and physically placing her hand in his groin area on multiple occasions, sexually suggestive talk, and sending naked photographs of herself along with text messages over multiple years and continuing to the recent current date.”
The second suit states Ms. Rober engaged in sex with the student from 2011 to 2013. The suit alleges “An act of oral sex by Rober was done in the in the middle of the football stadium.” The suit also alleges sexual intercourse took place the high school’s physical therapy room.
In the third suit, the young man alleges Ms. Rober “performed sexual intercourse” with him on February 9 while on an athletic trip with the school’s wrestling team. The suit alleges the victim has suffered “Severe emotional harm and substantially lower academic performance and the consequences of these harms will extend into the future indefinately.”
The plaintiffs allege Mr. Thompson failed to report the suspected abuse. ProMedica, the suits allege, failed to properly train, supervise, or observe Ms. Rober’s interactions with student-athletes at Clay.
Kapfhammer told The Press last week that the district’s attorneys are involved in the cases.
“It is important to remember that she (Rober) was not and has never been an employee of the district,” Kapfhammer said.