SEQUIM — A King County civil lawsuit claims those who oversee Mountain View Christian School near Sequim withheld knowledge that a former teacher convicted of sex crimes had allegedly touched other students inappropriately.
Davis Law Group of Seattle seeks an unspecified monetary amount in damages from the Western Washington Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists, which oversees the school. The trial date is tentatively set for Oct. 1 in King County Superior Court.
The law firm represents parents of a then-10-year-old Sequim girl who said she was victimized by her former teacher/principal Doug Allison, at the Sequim-area school in the 2015-16 school year.
Court documents say the law group and family allege the school and the church corporation “failed to prevent the ongoing and preventable molestation of [the minor].”
“Mr. Allison should not have been placed, or left, in a position of trust with young children,” court documents say.
Allison was sentenced in September 2016 to 26½ years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree child molestation and two counts of first-degree child rape for crimes against two students in the school.
Following allegations against him, Allison was placed on administrative leave. He was later fired. He later confessed, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office reported, to sexual contact with two students while at his desk as other students in the room read or watched movies.
He is serving his sentence in Airway Heights Corrections Center west of Spokane.
The civil suit against the church corporation was filed last June, and representatives of Davis Law Group said the student’s family retained attorney Chris Davis for a possible civil lawsuit starting in April 2016.
Heidi Baumgartner, communication director for the Washington Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said the organization doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
However, she said school leaders are excited about what’s happening now at Mountain View Christian School at 255 Medsker Road. Baumgartner said the school’s population is traditionally small, but last year it had a “healthy 17 students.”
“Student safety is a top priority for the holistic development of students academically, socially, physically and spiritually,” she said.
Allison and his wife, Judy Allison, were hired to work at Mountain View Christian School in August 2013. He served as principal and taught fourth through eighth grades.
The lawsuit claims church corporation/school leaders didn’t investigate Allison’s past in California, where he worked prior to Sequim, despite at least one existing abuse allegation in California prior to his hiring, nor did they act after parents complained during his employment in the Sequim private school for allegedly hugging students inappropriately several months prior to his arrest.
A letter from the Del Norte County (Calif.) Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Welfare Branch to Amy Bundy, a Clallam County Sheriff’s detective, said two minors told authorities on Dec. 22, 2014, and Jan. 25, 2016, that Allison touched them inappropriately.
One minor alleged in 2014 that Allison touched her inappropriately several times from fourth through six grades with the last instance sometime in 2012 when he taught at Crescent City Seventh-day Adventist Christian School in Crescent City, Calif.
The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office received a second similar allegation from a minor in 2016 about Allison actions in 2014.
The Del Norte Triplicate said that former Del Norte County District Attorney Dale Trigg received the report about the two allegations from the sheriff’s office in early 2017.
No charges have been filed.
Current District Attorney Katherine Micks told the paper her office hasn’t rejected the investigation.
For more information on the Washington Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, visit washingtonconference.org.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].