Lawsuit Charges Pedophile Teacher Allowed To Continue By Administrators

A civil lawsuit contends a West Virginia school district “turned a blind eye” to the perverted actions of a teacher who was allowed to continue in his role despite multiple incidents.

That teacher, 63-year-old Ronald Paul Harris, is now serving a 10- to 20-year sentence after being convicted of abusing a 14-year-old freshman girl. At the time, she was working after school as a classroom helper.

The lawsuit alleged he kept a list of the “Top 10” most attractive middle school girls while he was a history teacher and basketball coach at Oak Glen Middle School in New Cumberland.

The filing also charged that he was caught masturbating in multiple incidents on school property.

The now 27-year-old survivor of the attack took legal action against the Hancock County Board of Education and then-middle school principal David Smith. He is now in the same position at a district high school.

Her lawyers believe that Harris may have attacked other students and it is the plaintiff’s desire that others will have the strength to come forward.

Attorney Mary Pat Statler called the case “a parent’s worst nightmare.” She said that “to learn that your child was groomed and…abused by a teacher is beyond awful.” She asserted that having an administrator who could have stopped the abuse but didn’t made it “even more terrible.”

Harris pleaded guilty in September to charges related to violating his position of trust. Five other felony charges were dropped as part of the deal.

The victim, identified only as E.H., was 14 at the time she became a “teacher’s aide.” She would stay after school and help Harris grade papers after classes let out. The lawsuit said that to go from the high school to the middle school she had to “sign in.”

Records show that she signed in at least ten times.

The lawsuit alleged that on one occasion when E.H. was being abused, then-middle school principal Smith tried to gain entry to the classroom. The door was locked, however, so the lawsuit stated “he simply ceased trying and began walking away, down the hall.”

E.H. said afterwards there was a short conversation with Harris and the student, but that was the extent of Smith’s reaction.