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BPSB facing lawsuit in sexual abuse case

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By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

The parents of a child who attended Benton Elementary School have filed a lawsuit against the Bossier Parish School Board.

The suit, filed on Oct. 25, names the school board and Aubrey “Perry”  Norcross, who has been arrested and charged with multiple sexual crimes against minors, are named in the suit.

The parents say the school board failed to provide a number of safety measures at school, including:

  • Screening all teachers prior to hiring
  • Retaining competent teachers
  • Supervising teachers after hiring
  • Training teachers and employees about awareness and recognition of sexual  misconduct by other school board employees or teachers.
  • Investigating all claims that could affect the safety of children on school premises
  • Disciplining teachers to discourage unsafe conduct with children

“We are still in the process of determining how significant the situation is,” said the parents’ attorney, Chance Nerren of the Shreveport law firm Morris, Dewitt & Savoie.

In the lawsuit, the parents of the a 9-year-old girl say the Bossier Parish School System failed in its obligation to recognize or address the actions of Norcross,

Due to the nature of the case and it involving a minor, the Press-Tribune will not identify the parents indicated in the lawsuit.

Bossier Schools Public Liaison Sonja Bailes said the Bossier Parish School Board is aware that the suit has been filed, saying, “The district’s attorney is aware of the lawsuit and all inquiries should be referred to him. Bossier Schools cannot comment on pending litigation.”

Attempts were made to speak with the Bossier Parish School’s attorney, John Guice, for comment regarding the lawsuit, but Guice could not be reached for comment by press time.

As previously reported by the Press-Tribune, Bossier Schools hosted a community meeting at Benton High School on Oct 23. The meeting was designed to give parents tips on how to communicate with their child regarding sexual abuse.

“I can personally assure you that we would have never looked the other way or not acted, in any form, knowing that any kind of sexual misconduct before now had been reported to us. We would have acted very, very quickly. That’s our nature in the Bossier Parish School System,” Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith said at the meeting.

As of Oct. 31, detectives with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office charged Aubrey “Perry” Norcross, 47, with various sexual crimes involving 11 children.

“These new charges are much more than just numbers, they are the lives of precious young children,” said Sheriff Julian Whittington. “I know it’s tough for these young boys and girls to come forward and tell their story, but I am grateful for the healing that can begin in their lives.”

Norcross remains incarcerated in the Bossier Maximum Security Facility where he faces a total bond of $2,600,000 on 11 separate charges.

Norcross was originally arrested Oct. 17 and charged with video voyeurism of a student. Subsequent charges followed over the next two weeks.