More plaintiffs join LO School District sex abuse lawsuit
- Rebecca Mayer
- Lake Oswego Review - News
Four more men joined a lawsuit against the Lake Oswego School District on the grounds that former teacher Judd Johnson sexually abused them between the late 60s and early 80s, bringing the total filing to seven.
The original three men filed suit back in February, seeking $2 million each for emotional trauma and 'permanent psychological damage' and $100,000 each for future therapy. The new filers bring the total suit to $14.7 million.
In order for the suit to go through, the men must challenge the constitutionality of a two-year statute of limitations on abuse charges against government employees. Under Oregon law, there is no statute for private organizations such as churches.
According to their attorney Kelly Clark, 'It is unreasonable up to the point of unconstitutional to expect a child abuse survivor to file suit before he consciously understands he has been injured.'
The story of the three original men, who all filed anonymously, was brought to the attention of the four others when the suit was made public in February. The three claim that this is the first time they confronted the effects of the abuse.
The original three were prompted to come forward when a series of articles on sexual abuse in schools ran in The Oregonian in February. They claim that realizing the importance of the abuse came to them in 2006 or 2007.
Clark, who has represented about 150 sexual abuse victims in suits against the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, churches and schools, said that there has been no challenge of the constitutionality of the two-year statute of limitations. It has been from his experience with child abuse cases that Clark has concluded that the law is unreasonable.
Some of the men, who are now in their 40s and 50s, have remained friends over the years, and some of them have never met. All seven allege abuse by Johnson over the course of his career that includes Bryant Elementary School, Forest Hills Elementary School and Lake Grove Elementary School.
Johnson wasn't charged with sexually abusing a male student until the early 80s, when he was teaching at Lake Grove. The abuse was around the same time the youngest victim in the current lawsuit alleges abuse. At that time he pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual abuse in Clackamas County and was sentenced to two years of probation and counseling. He resigned from the school district on Feb. 1, 1984 and the state revoked his teaching license.