Victim in Howell rape case appeals lawsuit’s dismissal

WILMINGTON — A former Caesar Rodney High student once in a sexual relationship with a now-imprisoned teacher/coach is appealing a recent Superior Court action dismissing her claims against the school district.

While litigation continues against defendant Richard “Dickie” Howell II, the student took her case to Supreme Court last Thursday regarding the Caesar Rodney School District, the high school and board of education’s successful motion in Superior Court.

The full decision was posted last week on the Delaware Court website at courts.delaware.gov/opinions.

On Dec. 31, the ex-student’s quest to continue action against the CR system was denied by Judge Ferris W. Wharton in a four-page order. Howell did not seek summary judgment, according to the court.

Lawyers for the plaintiff and CR defense declined comment following the order.

The plaintiff was 17 at the time of the relationship, according to court documents. She was a volunteer wrestling team manager and teacher’s aid for one of Howell’s gym classes.

Richard L. Howell II

They first met in Howell’s physical education class in the summer of 2012 and supposedly began exchanging text messages in March/April 2014.

That was followed by a reported sexual relationship for several months, the court noted.

According to documents the sexual interactions allegedly took place in Howell’s residence, at another teacher’s home (not named in court documents) and at the high school.

According to the summary judgment documents the then-student told CR’s principal and assistant principal of the alleged relationship on Jan. 12, 2015.

Howell was arrested, pleaded guilty to rape and sentenced to prison.

Howell resigned his employment with the school district in lieu of termination, court papers said.

An action against CR claimed it was liable through Howell’s behavior for assault and battery, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud. After a submission on Aug. 8, 2018, summary judgment was determined on Nov. 30.

CR “argued that Howell was acting outside the scope of his employment in having sexual relations (with the student) so it was not liable … Additionally, Caesar Rodney sought summary judgment on (the students’ gross negligence claim, arguing that the record is devoid of evidence supporting that claim.)”

The former student filed the lawsuit on Dec. 17, 2017.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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