Lawsuit filed against School District over sexual abuse allegations

FAIRBANKS- A lawsuit filed in Fairbanks Superior Court aims to sue the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District over the alleged sexual abuse of a Hutchison High School teen by long-time employee Claude Fowlkes.

The lawsuit cites negligence by the District, Tanana Middle School Principal, and Superintendent Pete Lewis in their handling of numerous sexual misconduct reports dating back to 2009.

Fowlkes is currently in jail on a no bail status for the alleged repeated sexual abuse of the male student - some of which, according to court documents, was committed on school grounds.

The unidentified family that filed the suit has asked for "damages in excess of $100,000 for each separate act of (alleged) sexual abuse by Fowlkes," plus punitive damages to "deter the District from recklessly allowing another child to be sexually abused."

Paperwork filed in court also lists numerous incidents involving Fowlkes, including other claims of sexual misconduct and a DUI.

But the District continued to employ Fowlkes, which the claimants described as "failing to protect students" like the alleged victim in this case.

School Board President Heidi Haas says that the District has not actually been served with the suit at this point.