PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A lawsuit has been filed against two school districts. They’re accused of failing to protect young women from a sexual predator.
Palisades and Parkland School Districts in Lehigh and Bucks Counties are alleged to have “passed the trash” and “buried their heads in the sand” when dealing with a teacher turned pervasive child sex predator. That’s according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday and obtained exclusively by CBS3.
“Until you do protect the vulnerable and most especially young children, you’re not doing anything. Having policies in and of itself is not sufficient,” attorney Stew Ryan said.
The blistering allegations laid out in the suit come after ex-teacher Christian Willman in January pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a half-dozen students at both schools.
Christian Willman pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 12 years jail time. Both Palisades & Parkland school districts are accused of ignoring warning signs & failing to act on complaints made against the ex-teacher. Lawyers say Willman was a serial sexual predator. @CBSPhilly (2/2)
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) July 15, 2020
It’s alleged both schools failed in their legal and moral duties to guard against a predator.
Four of Willman’s survivors sat down for interviews this afternoon.
“It alters your life, it alters the way you see yourself, the way you see other people,” one of the victims said.
The suit seeks to make these women whole after years of torment, as pain is stirred up each time there’s a mention of this disgraced ex-teacher’s name.
It’s claimed over the years teachers even tried to report their colleague but were met resistance.
“One of the only ways to get them to pay attention and actually take things like this seriously is to do what we’re doing here. But we’re all on individual paths here trying to heal as best we can and move forward as much as we can but it’s never gonna go away,” another victim said.
“He was operating at an almost factory level the way that he abused children, and unfortunately, was allowed to abuse children by those that should have been watching,” Ryan said.
Palisades School District sent the following statement to CBS:
“As noted following Chris Willman’s sentencing in January of 2020, the Palisades School District would like to thank the PA State Police Dublin Barracks and the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office for their investigation into and prosecution of Chris Willman. He was entrusted by this community to educate students and instead he took advantage of that trust in the most egregious ways possible. I commend those that brought forth the allegations of misconduct and admire the amazing courage of the victims to end Chris Willman’s abhorrent behavior.”
The Parkland School District did not respond.