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Lawsuit: Man claims sexually abused as student and district failed to act

OREM Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Allegations of child sex abuse by a school teacher are made in a lawsuit filed by the victim.
OREM Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Allegations of child sex abuse by a school teacher are made in a lawsuit filed by the victim.
Roger Stephenson is now a grown man but in his lawsuit claimed he was molested by the teacher while attending Orem Junior High and nothing was done about it.

“It started with a hand on the knee or an arm around the shoulder or hugging," says Stephenson.

In 1981 Stephenson had visions of becoming an actor. He performed in several plays at Orem Junior High and became friends with a teacher.

“He always took the opportunity to give me a ride home,” he says.

The teacher is now retired. But back then Stephenson says the teacher made sexual advances.

“After he turned out the lights he hugged me and told me how proud he was of me and then kissed me on the neck several times,” he says. “(Another time) he reached down behind me and fondled my *******.”

Stephenson has now filed a lawsuit against the teacher, principal and Alpine School District. ABC 4 chooses not to identify the name of the teacher and principal.

In response to the lawsuit the teacher said “(I'm) disappointed and nervous about it. I can't believe he's doing it but he is. I can't even remember it. It's been 32-years ago."

Stephenson says the principal didn't want his dad to know and tried to make him feel guilty.

“You know he'll have (teacher’s) job and do you want to see his wife and kids go hungry?”

His attorney says the district didn't report it to police.

“These are the individuals that should be protecting children, safeguarding them,” says Aaron Johnstun.
He says Orem police were never notified until Stephenson filed a complaint years later.

But it didn’t go anywhere. The detective wrote: "It seems highly unlikely to me that this is anything more than the ramblings of an angry and troubled man."

“This was the son-in-law of (teacher),” says Johnstun.

The detective was the teacher's son-in-law who then claimed a conflict of interest according to Johnstun. He says his report was sent to the Utah County sheriff's office which declined to press charges.

“The relationships between the alleged perpetrator and the family member within the Orem police department did have some type of impact on this being investigated,” says Johnstun.

And then there was a 2008 signed confession by the teacher that Stephenson has as part of his evidence.

“I showed him the statement and he signed it,” says Stephenson. “And I let him know how devastating it was to me.”

A spokesman for the Alpine School District declined comment. But attorneys for the teacher and principal have filed motions to dismiss claiming the complaint should have been filed no later than 1987.

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