St. Johns County

Former music teacher sued for sexual abuse towards St. Johns County student

St. Johns County, Fla. — A former Murray Middle School music teacher accused of sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior towards a female student is now being sued in St. Johns County.

The plaintiff is suing her former music teacher, the former Murray Middle School principal, and the St. Johns County School Board for Title IX and negligence. It involves reports of sexual abuse and harassment towards this student during the 2015-2016 school year.

The plaintiff’s name will be kept anonymous, but the lawsuit stated she was a 13-year-old student at Murray Middle School at the time of the alleged incident.

The lawsuit identified the former music teacher as Fabian Schmidt. Action News Jax is choosing to name this teacher because the school district confirmed it also recommended his termination in 2018, although he chose to resign.

According to the lawsuit, the student was a student in Schmidt’s music class. She said she witnessed Schmidt giving inappropriate treatment of certain female students in his care, specifically touching of a sexual nature. It states, “Jane Doe was also inappropriately touched by Defendant Schmidt. For example, during class time, Defendant Schmidt touched Jane Doe on her upper thigh making Jane Doe extremely uncomfortable while in his class.”

It states that the student’s mother reported this behavior to the school principal on three separate occasions. However, the lawsuit states no action was taken until weeks later when the student was removed from the music class and reassigned to a computer class.

During this time, the lawsuit states the student suffered several mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. It claims she also suffered harassment from making the reports against this music teacher.

It wasn’t until about two years later when the Florida Department of Children and Families got involved with the reports. The lawsuit states DCF initiated an investigation into the defendants.

In November 2018, the lawsuit states DCF found that Schmidt acted inappropriately and unprofessionally towards female students. They reported that the principal failed to take prompt action or report any concerns regarding inappropriate behavior.

No criminal charges were filed. However, Action News Jax confirmed with the school district that they recommended Schmidt’s termination, although he chose to retire.

The school district reassigned the principal to another position within the district.

Action News Jax has reached out to Schmidt, the former principal, and the school board for further comment.

Some board members responded and said they will decline to comment on pending litigation.

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