Students abused by automotive teacher sue CTC

BY TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER / PUBLISHED: FEBRUARY 5, 2019 -

Seven juveniles who allege they were molested by a former automotive technology teacher at the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County have put the center and several school districts on notice they plan to sue.

In a coordinated filing, four attorneys separately representing the youths filed writs of summons Friday in Lackawanna County Court against CTC and the Lakeland, Scranton, Valley View and Mid Valley school districts in connection with sexual abuse committed by Richard Humphrey.

A writ of summons puts a defendant on notice a suit is pending but does not contain specific allegations. That information will be contained in a complaint that will be filed at a later date.

Humphrey, 63, of West Wyoming, pleaded guilty in January 2018 to 11 counts of indecent assault and one count of corruption of minors and was later sentenced to 11 to 33 months in Lackawanna County Prison. The criminal investigation began in May 2017, after a student came forward to report Humphrey touched him inappropriately in class. Authorities investigated and learned Humphrey groped six other boys. Once he was charged, another three victims came forward.

The Times-Tribune does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

The civil cases will seek monetary damages for harm the victims suffered. The Lakeland School District is named as a defendant in three of the cases; Valley View is a defendant in two cases, while the Scranton and Mid Valley districts are defendants in one case each.

Attorney Larry Moran Sr., who represents three of the plaintiffs, said he and the other attorneys — Patrick Doyle, Scott Schermerhorn and Kevin Quinn — agreed to file the writs of summons at the same time, although they represent their clients individually.

“These teenage boys were first sexually abused by their teacher,” Moran said in an email. “They were then abandoned and left in the cold by the CTC and their sending home school districts, who did nothing to prevent the abuse or to address the harm suffered by the children.”

Donald Dolan, solicitor for the Mid Valley School District, said he could not comment on the case because the district has not yet been made aware of specific allegations against it. Attempts to reach solicitors for CTC, the Scranton, Valley View and Lakeland school districts for comment Monday were unsuccessful.