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PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — The Reynolds School District failed to protect a student who was sexually abused multiple times in a high school parking lot, a new lawsuit claims.
Whether the abuse happened isn’t in question. A local landlord, Gregory Ivory, is serving a 48-month prison sentence after pleading guilty in May to first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, third-degree sexual abuse and using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct.
But the lawsuit, which seeks $2.5 million in damages, asserts that the school district is liable for negligence because district employees never intervened or asked Ivory to leave during numerous furtive meetings on school grounds.
“The criminal matter is resolved and our client is thankful that the criminal justice system brought the perpetrator to justice,” said William Macke, the attorney representing the student. “She feels it is necessary to move forward with this civil lawsuit to bring to light safety concerns around how security is handled and visitors are monitored on the Reynolds High School campus.”
Steven Padilla, a district spokesman, declined to comment on pending litigation.
According to court documents, Ivory met the student when she was five, as the two were neighbors in the Rockwood area of Gresham. They exchanged letters for a month beginning when she was 15 and he was 62, at which point Ivory began providing her with a secret cell phone.
The two texted about sexually explicit conduct, per a probable cause affidavit, and traded nude photographs. According to the lawsuit and court docs, Ivory parked his truck at Reynolds High at least 60 times in 2019 and 2020, and sexually abused the student on multiple occasions.
“She did not want to have sex until she was married,” the criminal affidavit says. “Mr. Ivory then bought her a fake diamond ring.”
In March 2020, the student’s mom found the secret phone and their text messages; her parents later conducted a recorded “pretext call” wherein Ivory admitted to the conversations, police say.
The lawsuit alleges that Ivory “regularly trespassed unimpeded” onto school property, typically beginning at lunchtime, and leading to marked absences between 5th period and 7th period. The Reynolds High School campus is closed between 8 a.m. and 3:06 p.m., according to a student handbook.
“(Reynolds) failed to meaningfully intervene or otherwise attempt to address the recurring absences except for initiating automated phone calls to plaintiff’s parents,” the lawsuit states. “One or more teachers witnessed (the student) exiting the school and walking to the school parking lot … but never inquired as to (the student’s) activities.”
After the criminal activity was uncovered, Ivory’s gifts and inappropriate notes were found inside the student’s locker, the suit says.
Ivory will be required to register as a sex offender and stay on probation for as long as 60 months after serving his sentence at a Madras state prison. With credit for time served, his earliest release date is in May 2023.