A judge has allowed a federal lawsuit to proceed against a former Lake Forest High School teacher accused of grooming and sexually abusing six students at the time he taught at the school.
Chicago-based law firm Goldberg and Goldberg filed a lawsuit in May 2021 on behalf of six former students against David Miller, a full-time teacher who worked at Lake Forest High School from 1966 to 2009.
The law firm also filed a second suit at the same time on behalf of a former female student against Cynthia Martin, who used to work at Lake Forest High School as a teacher and coach.
Both suits allege that Martin and Miller groomed and sexually abused the students and that the school knew about it but did not take action.
The first lawsuit said that the six students had Miller as a teacher and that he “typically targeted LFHS students enduring and experiencing difficulty at home, including the death of friends or family, divorce, and those having difficulty socializing with their classmates.”
It alleged that Miller groomed and sexually abused male students consistently for nearly 35 years starting in the 1980s.
Lawyers said in the lawsuit that Miller used his home and the provision of alcohol to groom students, progressing with inappropriate physical contact including hugs, back rubs, roughhousing, kissing, fondling and oral sex.
Miller was charged in 1991 with misdemeanor battery of a student and the high school administration was notified.
Miller resigned in 2009 after he was accused of making inappropriate comments to a male student in an online chatroom.
District 115 allowed him to resign without reporting or making public the allegation, the lawsuit said.
Lawyers say that District 115 had knowledge of Miller’s “long history of inappropriate comments and sexual battery of male students” but continued to publicly celebrate him to the community.
The lawsuit against Martin alleged that she targeted the plaintiff, identified as “Sharon M.,” while the girl was experiencing difficulty at home due to the death of family in the late 1980s.
Martin allegedly groomed and sexually abused juvenile female students, including Sharon.
The lawsuit says that Martin provided alcohol and illegal drugs to Sharon and other students.
It reportedly progressed to inappropriate physical contact including hugs, back rubs, roughhousing, kissing, fondling, and oral and sexual intercourse.
Lawyers say that District 115 failed to take action against Martin despite knowledge of the allegations.
Both lawsuits filed against the two former teachers are seeking unspecified compensation from the defendants, including Lake Forest Community High School District 115.
The lawsuit against Martin appears to be nearing a settlement, court records show. A settlement conference is scheduled for December 7.
Court records show the lawsuit against Miller is not near a settlement and U.S. District Court Judge John Kness recently issued a ruling after the defendants sought to have the lawsuit dismissed.
Kness denied the request to dismiss after the defendants argued the statute of limitations had been reached and the plaintiffs “fail to state valid causes of action.”
The judge said he would allow the suit to proceed under the fraudulent concealment statute. The next court date in the case has not been scheduled yet.