PITTSBURGH – A new lawsuit in federal court claims a quintet of “mean girls” conspired to accuse a male classmate of sexual assault on two occasions and subject him to incarceration, before later admitting their accusations were false.
Michael Flood Jr. and Alecia Flood (parents of T.F., a minor) of Zelienople filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on Oct. 1 versus the girls and their parents, all of Zelienople, the Seneca Valley School District of Harmony, plus the Butler County District Attorney’s Office and Butler County, both of Butler.
The individual defendants are George Villegas Jr. and Pam Villegas (parents of Megan Villegas), David Sherk and Christy Sherk (parents of K.S., a minor), David Seaman and Christine Seaman (parents of C.S., a minor), Cris Salancy and Kimberly Salancy (parents of E.S., a minor), David Reina and Lynn Reina (parents and natural guardians of H.R., a minor),
“During the summer of 2017, T.F. was employed as a lifeguard at the Zelienople Community Pool in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Megan Villegas and K.S. also worked at the pool. In June 2017, Megan, a supervisor, advised others that she was going to get T.F. fired from his job at the pool. After conspiring with Megan, K.S. falsely accused T.F. of committing a sexual assault at the pool on or about July 19, 2017,” the suit states.
The alleged plan was successful and per the lawsuit, things didn’t end there. In October, K.S. then reported to a school guidance counselor that T.F. had sexually assaulted her, the suit says.
On Oct. 8, 2017, T.F. was charged with the offenses of indecent assault and two counts of harassment, for which he was given a plea deal of not admitting responsibility, a consent decree and six months probation. During the following six-month period, the suit says T.F. was harassed at school by other students continuously, despite allegedly doing nothing wrong.
“On March 23, 2018, T.F. received a Snapchat message sent from C.S.’s mobile telephone inviting T.F. to 'hang out' with her and her friends [at her home]. T.F...entered the home where C.S., E.S. and H.R. were consuming alcoholic beverages. C.S. was drunk; her parents were not present. The female students discussed purchasing marijuana. T.F. did not partake of any alcohol that was offered, visited briefly and departed the residence,” the suit says.
In March 2018, defendant C.S. is said to have falsely reported to the school guidance counselor that T.F. entered her home uninvited and sexually assaulted her, allegations then supported by co-defendants E.S. and H.R. Allegations supposedly not investigated by the authorities.
On April 9, 2018, T.F. was charged with the offenses of indecent assault forcible compulsion, criminal trespass and simple assault, the suit says.
T.F. was removed from the class the following day by Jackson Township Police, and was incarcerated at a juvenile detention facility, before being released one week later on house arrest and wearing an ankle monitor, which he was told to keep secret and hidden at all times, the suit says. He was subject to homebound academic instruction for the remainder of the school year, not allowed to have any visitors, phone or Internet access and couldn’t leave the house except for psychological counseling sessions and to attend church, the suit says.
T.F.’s parents then began to investigate the matter themselves.
“Within a week, Mr. and Mrs. Flood had obtained several written statements to support the fact that the girls lured T.F. to the Seaman residence and fabricated lies about him. The Zelienople Police incompetently failed to obtain the aforedescribed exculpatory evidence, which the Floods easily obtained,” the lawsuit states.
The suit says a different group of Seneca Valley Intermediate High School female students gave separate statements supporting assertions the minor defendants lied about T.F.'s conduct. In May, it is said E.S., H.R. and C.S. admitted to Butler County Assistant District Attorney Russ Karl that they had lied about the allegations.
Charges against T.F. were dismissed three months later and he was released from court supervision soon thereafter, but, his parents say, his criminal record has not yet been expunged by the District Attorney's Office.
The suit further claims that Seneca Valley School District officials have failed to mark the academic records of the defendant students to reflect that they lied to support unwarranted criminal charges against T.F., and will “suffer no academic or personal consequences for their misconduct, which critically damaged T.F. physically and psychologically, and will impact his young life indefinitely.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Craig L. Fishman of Shenderovich Shenderovich & Fishman, in Pittsburgh.
Defendants Butler County and the Butler County District Attorney’s Office are represented by Maria N. Pipak and Marie Millie Jones of Jones Passodelis, in Pittsburgh.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case 2:18-cv-01310
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org