MOREHEAD, Ky. (FOX 56) — A former Rowan County coach and educator accused of sexually abusing a student, is now being included in a lawsuit filed against school administrators for allegedly ignoring reports of his conduct.
The student identified as Jane Doe filed the lawsuit in Rowan Circuit Court Tuesday against the Rowan County Board of Education, John Mann, principal of Rowan County High School, and John Maxey, superintendent of Rowan County Schools. Four months ago, Andrew Zaheri, 39, of Morehead, was charged with raping a student-athlete.
Zaheri was a faculty member at Rowan County Senior High School and an assistant coach on Rowan County’s boys basketball team.
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The lawsuit claims Zaheri had a history of targeting students; one became pregnant with Zaheri’s child after recently graduating, and those who had investigative, supervisory, and/or disciplinary authority over Zaheri knew and did nothing to investigate how or when she became pregnant.
“In essence, those with investigative, supervisory, and/or disciplinary authority within the Rowan County school district turned a blind eye to a situation,” reads the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims Jane Doe had to receive emergency contraceptives after one of the assaults to avoid becoming pregnant herself.
According to a news release by Rowan County Schools, Zaheri was placed on administrative leave around the time of his arrest, and the investigation was turned over to Kentucky State Police and child protective services.
The lawsuit states Jane Doe endured grooming, sexual abuse, molestation, and harassment starting when she was 14 and continuing until she was nearly 18, laying out a timeline of alleged events.
“The abuse was made possible by Zaheri’s position and stature within Rowan County Senior High School, and the failure of the institution to act on its knowledge and protect Jane Doe from Zaheri,” states the lawsuit.
The district has not commented on the lawsuit.
Lawsuit claims inaction by supervisors
The lawsuit mentions roughly 50 alleged instances where people in supervisory roles over Zaheri failed to properly investigate or act on claims and concerns of misconduct.
According to the lawsuit, in September 2022, a report was made to the director of student
services that raised concerns about the relationship between Jane Doe and Zaheri, including seeing the two in public and engaging in private conversations.
The report was given to Mann, who, according to the lawsuit, did not inform Jane Doe’s parents or attempt to speak with Jane Doe about the claims.
“Mann spoke with Zaheri regarding the concerns and simply accepted Zaheri at his
word that it was coincidence that the two were at Wal-Mart, that there was open gym on
Morehead’s campus for all boys and girls players, and that the two conversed about soccer and ‘things of that nature’ on campus,” reads the claim.
According to the document, on Feb. 13, 2023, Mann and Maxey received reports of an inappropriate relationship between Zaheri and Jane Doe and neither investigated the matter, but one day later the high school guidance counselor reported the allegations to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.