A Montgomery County woman has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against a former
teacher of hers over allegations that the educator engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with the plaintiff when the woman was a 17-year-old student at Jenkintown High School.
Alyssa Viney, now 19, claims in her civil action that Mark Citron, who the suit says worked as the high school’s athletic director and a principal’s assistant at the time, engaged in an “illegal and inappropriate” sexual relationship with the plaintiff between January and June 2010.
The complaint, which was filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Nov. 19 by Feasterville, Pa. attorney James W. Sutton, III, alleges that during the time period in question, Citron would “regularly and excessively” call Viney out of class and into his office, a pretty much daily occurrence that lasted a good six months or so.
The calls often came through the school’s internal phone system, meaning Viney’s teachers would receive the calls, and thus the suit faults those educators for failing to take action to investigate, question, manage, or stop the meetings between the plaintiff and defendant.
Citron would use his office and other rooms at the high school, which is located not too far outside of Philadelphia, to engage Viney in illegal and inappropriate sexual acts, the lawsuit claims.
“Throughout this time period, Defendant Citron engaged in an illegal sexual relationship with minor-student Ms. Viney which included, but is not limited to, sex, oral sex, sexual assault, sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual touching,” the complaint reads.
In addition to Citron, the Jenkintown School District is also named as a defendant in the litigation.
The suit alleges that the school district violated Viney’s constitutional rights by not doing anything to protect the woman’s bodily integrity under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Defendant Jenkintown’s actions or inactions of allowing ongoing, practically daily, closed door meetings between an adult male employee/agent and a female minor-student, without taking any act to supervise, manage, question, investigate or otherwise stop these meetings constitutes outrageous behavior and shocks the conscience,” the lawsuit states. “The actions, or inactions, of Defendant Jenkintown’s employees/agents allowed the illegal acts of Defendant Citron to continue and/or escalate.”
In addition to the civil rights claims, the lawsuit also contains counts of intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, negligent supervision of employees, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Viney seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as interest and attorney’s costs.
The plaintiff also demands a jury trial.
Montgomery Media reported earlier this year that Citron was arrested and criminally charged in late February with Viney’s sexual assault.
The online news site had reported that Citron, 43 at the time and a resident of Philadelphia, was initially arrested by authorities with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and charged with corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal use of a communications facility.
The first charge is a first-degree misdemeanor while the latter two are third-degree felonies.
The school district had told the news outlet that Citron would be suspended without pay and likely fired.
A look at Citron’s criminal docket sheet shows that a pre-trial conference has been scheduled in the defendant’s case for Dec. 20 before Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas C. Branca.
The docket further shows that Citron is being represented in his criminal case by attorney Michael Kevin Parlow of the Bensalem firm Wheeler, Zenstein, Gallant & Parlow P.C.
The federal case number is 2:12-cv-06517-MSG.