Published: Feb. 21, 2019 at 7:16 PM AKST
Two lawsuits filed in state court claim that the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Shool District was negligent in protecting students from sexual abuse by a teacher.
Lukis Nighwonger, a former teacher at Iditarod Elementary School in Wasilla, faces 19 charges for alleged sex crimes committed against several students.
Attorneys Greg Parvin and Myron Angstman are representing one student and its family. Kramer and Associates are representing two other students and their families. The cases are currently separate, but they could be consolidated before trial.
The lawsuits claim that the district received reports that Nighswonger was molesting his students, but ignored the complaints instead of reporting them to the Department of Health and Social Services.
The lawsuit claims that a parent reported inappropriate touching to another teacher and later to a school administrator, but was told that Nighswonger would never do such a thing and refused to remove the child from the classroom.
In a statement to Channel 2, a spokesperson for the district said there is an ongoing investigation led by the Wasilla Police Department and that the district is cooperating with law enforcement.