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A former James Clemens High School basketball player has filed a federal lawsuit charging a coach with sexually harassing and assaulting her.
The lawsuit says Phillip Dewayne Perkins began harassing the student, who was then 14 years old, in late 2017 when he was both her basketball coach and history teacher.
Madison City Schools Superintendent Robby Parker also is named in the suit.
The suit details several counts against both men. Perkins is named in counts of assault, invasion of privacy, negligence, recklessness/wantonness.
Parker is named in a count of negligent/reckless/wanton retention and supervision.
Both men are named in a count for Violation of the 14th Amendment, Due Process, Equal Protection.
The student is still a minor and identified only as Jane Doe in the suit.
“From nearly their first contact, Perkins went out of his way to single out and harass Doe both in practice and in the classroom,” the suit says. “Perkins deliberately called out Doe in class in order to embarrass her in front of her classmates.
“At various points in the semester, Perkins commented to Doe that she was “not allowed to talk to any boys,” that she was “[his] and no one else’s,” and that she was “not allowed to sit with any boys.” During one incident, Perkins directed Doe to move away from two male classmates that she and two other teammates were socializing with on the gym bleachers. Perkins made Doe sit next to him while allowing her two female teammates to remain with the boys.”
The suit says Perkins intentionally touched and grabbed Doe’s breasts and buttocks.
"When Doe was playing offense during practices, Perkins always would choose to guard her and used his arm to brush up against her breasts. Perkins touched Doe’s breasts almost every practice Doe attended,” the suit claims.
The suit says Perkins’ actions caused Doe’s grades to slip, and she became angry, defiant and withdrawn.
After playing her last game in February 2018, the suit says Doe threatened suicide in June 2018.
The suit says counselors told Doe and her family the incidents at James Clemens constituted a criminal offense.
According to the suit, Madison City Police investigated the charges. The suit says a detective spoke with Parker, but decided there was no evidence to support Doe’s claims without talking to Perkins.
The suit says Doe continues to suffer from “emotional and mental anguish.”
The Madison City School System issued this response:
“Superintendent Parker and an employee of Madison City Schools have been served with a lawsuit brought by the parents of an anonymous student who has petitioned the Court not to have their identity disclosed.
“This matter was fully investigated in 2018 by Madison Police Department after a complaint was brought to them by the family.
“Madison City Schools also investigated the matter after learning of the complaint made to the Madison Police Department.
“Madison City Schools’ investigation included meetings with the family and interviews with students and faculty.
“The allegations of assault or other misconduct made at that time were not corroborated by either the Madison Police Department or the Madison City Schools’ investigation.
“Mr. Parker denies the allegations of the complaint and it will be vigorously defended.”
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