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Suit claims board, ex-band director didn’t protect boy

A former Letcher County Central High School band director should have done more to protect a former student from being “sexually stalked and molested” by an assistant band director, a lawsuit filed in Letcher Circuit Court says.

The suit, filed on behalf of a 19- year-old boy by Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf, also names the Letcher County Board of Education.

The suit charges that the school board and former band director Paula Moberly were negligent in not taking a reasonable measure to protect the student from assistant band director Thomas Pike, who is now serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty to committing crimes against the plaintiff, who was a juvenile at the time.

“Pike also committed similar offenses against at least one other student in the Letcher County School System, as well as committed sexual crimes in Whitley County,” the suit says. “Pike also pled guilty in Whitley County and was sentenced to a total of 19 years on all of his felony guilty pleas. The plaintiff believes that the victims in Whitley County were also students.”

The suit charges that Moberly, who became Letcher Central’s band director after filling the same position at the old Fleming-Neon High School, should have known of the ongoing molestation. The complaint says Moberly “was on notice that Pike had a history of inappropriate sexually behavior toward juveniles (and) advised (Pike’s) mother that she had heard ‘rumors’ that Pike had had problems while working in Whitley County.”

“The defendants were negligent and careless in the hiring and retention of Thomas Pike in that they knew or should have known of his sexual appetite for students, as well as his criminal behavior towards the plaintiff and others,” the suit charges.

The complaint also says that “unknown administrators of the Letcher County School System were also given explicit notice that Pike was acting inappropriately towards the plaintiff and others and became aware that the plaintiff was being treated differently by Pike.”

“The plaintiff was physically bullied and harassed by other students,” the suit charges. “The defendants were negligent and careless in not doing any type of investigating into the mistreating of the plaintiff. The bullying and mistreatment of the plaintiff included him being kicked and hit by other students. The defendant(s) individually and collectively were negligent in responding to and protecting the plaintiff, despite notice of the ongoing mistreatment the plaintiff was experiencing.”

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