Lawyers filed the lawsuit on behalf of a 10-year-old Sibley Ocheyedan student who they say was sexually assaulted in October of 2015 by teacher Kyle Ewinger. Ewinger had previously taught at Sioux City, Akron Westfield, and Mediapolis School Districts — and all four school districts were part of a civil lawsuit for not reporting information they knew about Ewinger.
Lawyer John M. Sandy says all four schools were included in the settlement. Sandy says while teaching at the Mediapolis Community School District in 2004 it was alleged that Kyle Ewinger had similar conduct on another student. However, the Mediapolis School District entered into an agreement with Ewinger that, in exchange for his voluntary resignation, it would not report such conduct to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners and would provide Ewinger with a “neutral letter of recommendation to future employers.”
He says Akron Westfield discovered such information after hiring Ewinger and failed to report the information to Ewinger’s future employers. Ewinger was next employed at the Sioux City Community School District, where another allegation of inappropriate student contact was made against him.
Sandy says the Sioux City Community School District failed to properly investigate the allegation and failed to communicate the information to the Sibley Ocheyedan Community School District.
Ewinger pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the student in Osceola County District Court and is currently serving a ten-year sentence.
Sandy released this statement on the settlement:
“This young student suffered horrific acts that no person, especially a child, should ever have to endure. Children in school must be protected and nurtured. If the schools in this case had taken appropriate action with this predator, this life-altering assault would have been prevented. These schools failed this young student. This settlement represents some accountability for that preventable failure. Schools are now on notice that they will be held accountable when they are more concerned about passing the trash and looking the other away than the safety of school
children. This case is a victory for parents and school children across the state of Iowa. We hope this settlement will bring awareness for the need for not only schools, but all institutions who work with children, to be transparent and aggressive in vetting who will be interacting with those most vulnerable in our society.”