Suit alleges the district failed to intervene when rumors spread about an employees inappropriate relationship with a minor

Amy Dial

A former Centennial High School student is suing the Centennial School District, claiming the district failed to intervene when word spread that a school employee was sexually abusing him while he was a minor between 2008 and 2009.

Portland attorney Kelly Clark of O’Donnell Clark & Crew filed the $2.6 million lawsuit on Wednesday, July 24, in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

In April, Amy Barnes Dial, 42, a former Centennial High educational assistant and cheerleading coach, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree sex abuse for having sex with the student, who was 17 at the time. She completed her four-month sentence on July 20. She also must register as a sex offender for the rest of her life, is banned from working with children and is serving five years of probation.

Dial was an employee of the district between 2008 and 2012. The suit claims that her actions resulted in physical injury, mental injury, rape, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of the boy. It alleges the abuse included kissing, fondling, masturbation, oral sex and sexual intercourse.

The case first came to the attention of Gresham police in 2009, when another teen reported it, but the victim refused to cooperate with investigators and didn’t want to press charges, said Detective John Rasmussen, a Gresham police spokesman. As the victim got older and gained more clarity about the abuse, he approached detectives in June of 2012 and police resumed their investigation.

The suit claims the student did not comprehend the abusive nature of Dial’s actions until he came forward to investigators, “due to the admiration, respect and esteem which (he) had for Dial.”

The suit seeks $100,000 for economic damages, which includes the future costs of counseling, psychiatric and psychological medical treatment, and $2.5 million for non-economic damages the boy suffered, including emotional, physical and mental injury, as well as trauma.

Centennial Superintendent Sam Breyer, who joined the district after the investigation, said district employees reported the abuse to Gresham police upon hearing rumors and cooperated with the police, investigating as fully as the district could. He said the victim and his family did not cooperate with the investigation.

The suit, however, alleges the district failed to adequately investigate rumors of Dial’s inappropriate relationship with the boy, failed to report child sexual abuse by Dial to authorities and retained Dial as an employee after learning of the allegations of abuse.

Contract Publishing

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