School district sued over alleged abuse
The guardians of a student at Old Town Middle School who was allegedly molested by a now former teacher there have filed a lawsuit against the Madison County School District alleging that school officials attempted to cover up the incident.
The suit, filed in Madison County Circuit Court on Aug. 11, is against the alleged teacher, Marchenne Hatchett, 46, of Madison, and the school district.
Hatchett was arrested by Ridgeland Police for sexual battery following an investigation conducted by school officials.
The alleged incident was said to have occurred on Feb. 23, at the school. He was subsequently indicted by a Madison County grand jury.
MCS Director of Communications Gene Wright issued a statement saying district officials could not comment further.
“The top priority of Madison County Schools is the safety and security of our students. In this case the district took immediate investigative action, placed the accused on administrative leave, and notified local law enforcement,” the statement said.
“The person in question is no longer employed by the district. The district cannot comment further on ongoing legal and personnel matters.”
According to the suit, Hatchett was the teacher of the alleged victim, a 15-year-old female who would have been 14 at the time of the alleged incident.
On that day in February, Hatchett led the girl out of the classroom to a teacher’s lounge before exposing his genitals to her, according to court documents.
Hatchett allegedly forced the victim to perform a sexual act and said; “My wife does not please me anymore, now you have to.”
The suit claims Hatchett then warned the student not to tell anybody so that Hatchett could avoid “getting into trouble.” The two then reportedly returned to the classroom.
After the incident, it came to the administrator’s attention that students were gossiping about the alleged incident. School administrators investigated the incident by interviewing Ahtchett’s students.
Hatchett was removed from school property by what the lawsuit refers to as “private security” following the investigation.
The suit says the mother was then informed of the incident and she called law enforcement.
The suit alleges MCS officials should have “known of Hatchett’s proclivities for sexual abuse towards minors” and “failed to take any reasonable steps to prevent Hatchett from committing sexual abuse” on school district property.
Hatchett’s criminal trial is slated for September.