Advertisement

Response filed in band hazing suit

December 03, 1997

Response filed in band hazing suit

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Hedgesville High School's band director destroyed film of an alleged hazing incident at the request of one of student's parents who later sued him and other school officials, according to a document filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit was filed Oct. 16 by the parents on behalf three band members who were reportedly harassed at a band camp in Hardy County in August 1996.

The answer to the lawsuit was filed by band director Gary Marvel's attorney Harry P. Waddell. It stated Marvel "was advised by one of the parents for the ... plaintiffs that she believed photographs had been taken of her son ..."

Advertisement

It went on to state that the mother wanted Marvel to confiscate and destroy the film.

"He confiscated film alleged to contain photographs of her son and exposed said film to daylight," the court document said.

When the suit was filed, the plaintiffs claimed the photographs had evidentiary value.

According to the suit, seniors at the band camp forced two students to pose in "degrading and sexually explicit positions, simulating sexual acts." Another student was allegedly forced to portray a prostitute.

Marvel's answer stated he "did not directly authorize the alleged harassment or physical assaults." It claimed he had no knowledge of the harassment, hazing, assault or battery claimed in the suit.

The suit also named the Berkeley County Board of Education, former superintendent James Bennett and former Hedgesville High School principal Frank Aliveto as defendants. The suit also listed three John Does and three Jane Does who served as chaperones at the camp.

The board's attorney, Claudia Bentley, filed an answer to the suit on Friday, claiming "comparative negligence" and "comparative recklessness" by the plaintiffs for participating in the incidents.

"The negligence of the plaintiffs equals or exceeds the negligence of the defendants," the answer said.

The board's answer also contained a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' claim for punitive damages. The document said "an award of punitive or exemplary damages against such a subdivision is prohibited" under state law.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|