Parents file civil lawsuit for $1.3 million for child sex abuse
The parents of 13 minor children subjected to sexual abuse by a Bering Strait School District employee have filed a civil lawsuit against the district for damages of more than $100,000 for each child. The Second District Court in Nome accepted the suit for filing on Sept. 18.
The crimes occurred at a public school in the coastal village of Wales. All victims live in the village.
BSSD employed Amos Oxereok, 45, as a computer technician and teacher at the school from 2012 to 2016. He has pleaded guilty to charges of child sex abuse.
In a plea deal entered in court last month, Oxereok, pleaded guilty to two counts of Sexual Abuse of A Minor-under 13 years of age. The court dismissed two counts of Sex Abuse of A Minor under 16 and three counts of Harassment with Offensive Physical Contact, also Class B felonies. All charges are Class B felonies.
Oxereok agreed to an aggravator that victims were more than 10 years younger than he. Oxereok is slated to appear in Superior court at Nome on Dec. 7 for sentencing. The plea bargain asks for a total of 30 years to serve plus a lengthy probationary term.
The civil lawsuit complaint that was filed this week in Nome states, “BSSD, through its agents and servants, reasonably should have protected students from Amos Oxereok’s proclivity to sexually assault children.”
The case is being handled for the parents by Jim J. Valcarce, a personal injury attorney of Valcarce Law Office of Bethel, Alaska.
The suit, brought on behalf of the children, states that Oxereok repeatedly sexually assaulted children, including the 13 represented in the suit, in a classroom provided to Oxereok by BSSD. The classroom is in the main school building.
A claim for relief alleges that Oxereok’s acts resulted in numerous other torts being committed against the minor plaintiffs, Jane Does 1 through 13.
Oxereok committed numerous civil torts, included, but not limited to, assault and battery; negligence and negligence per se [against state law] and state Criminal Code and other rules that set codes of conduct; intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress; indecent acts against, sexual exploitation and exploitation of minors; and harassment.
Oxereok’s conduct is a foundation for an award of punitive damages against BSSD, according to the suit, because of his “willful and wanton misconduct, illegal, outrageous and malicious behavior, and conduct which showed a reckless indifference to the interests and wellbeing of minor children […]. ”
The complaint goes on to claim past and future damages including emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, loss of earnings and earning capacity, past and future expense for medical and psychological treatment, therapy and counseling, as a basis for damages for each child in an amount in excess of $100,000, the exact amount of which to be proven at trial.
The action asks, in addition, punitive damages in an amount to be determined at the trial, plus cost, interest and attorney’s fees in bringing the action, as well as other compensation the court considers appropriate.
Wales is a village of between 100 and 200 people located on the Bering Strait at the western tip of the Seward Peninsula.
NOTE: This story reflects a correction to the amount of damages sought.