A former student is suing two Ohio school districts and a teacher after accusing his educator of grooming him for sex, quasi-adopting him, and then giving birth to his baby. He claims school administrators were aware of the situation but ignored it.
Laura Lynn Cross and the Akron and Tallmadge school districts face a suit from a 20-year-old former student who is alleging teacher-on-student sexual harassment, assault and battery, and negligent hiring, according to court documents.
“This case challenges the multiple supervisory and other failures on the part of Akron Public Schools, their agents and employees and Tallmadge City Schools, their agents and employees, to prevent adult Laura Lynn Cross, from sexually abusing, assaulting, and raping the plaintiff, a student and a minor,” the suit reads.
The plaintiff names several school officials in the documents and is seeking damages for alleged sexual assault.
In June 2018, Cross was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual battery for crimes that occurred between Aug. 1, 2013 and Sept. 6, 2016, according to court filings by the plaintiff. She is being held at the Ohio State Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio.
The suit claims that Cross began seducing the former student when he was 12 years old. Both his language arts and music teacher, Cross would allegedly give the student special attention in class, buy him clothes, and take him swimming and bowling. He allegedly began spending the night at her house and returning there after school. Their sexual encounters allegedly began in September 2012, when the student was 15, according to Cleveland.com, a Cleveland, Ohio-based news organization.
Cross convinced the student's parents to give her partial custody of the child so he could attend Tallmadge High School. She gave birth to the student's child a few months after quitting her job as a teacher. The child was given up for adoption.
The student's father had attempted to alert the school to the sexual nature of the relationship but was allegedly ignored.
“First of all, she’s a schoolteacher,” the teen’s father told WEWS, a Cleveland, Ohio-based news station, in August 2017. “To get aroused by a child, basically you have to be a sick individual. ... It was a straight failure from the system. From the school and definitely from the police.”
The mother discovered messages exchanged between Cross and the student over Twitter and contacted the police, leading to charges in August 2017.
The suit claims that the failures of the school administrations resulted in permanent and severe psychological damage for the former student.
Akron Public Schools spokesman Mark Williamson has not offered a comment on the case. Tallmadge City Schools are also not offering a comment on the case.
[Photo: Summit County Sheriff's Office]