Complaint alleges Central Valley School District failed to protect student from sexual abuse

Published On: Mar 08 2013 12:07:13 AM PST   Updated On: Mar 08 2013 10:33:57 AM PST
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

The Central Valley School District is facing allegations it failed to protect a middle school student who claimed she was sexually abused by her science teacher.

On Thursday, a complaint against the school district and four administrators was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of the victim and her family. 

The 18-page complaint accuses the school district of failing to investigate and take the necessary steps to protect female students from former Bowdish Middle School teacher, Anthony Cucinotti.

Cucinotti, who has not been criminally charged, resigned from the district in 2009.

Online documents obtained by KXLY reveal Cucinotti received 8 warnings from the school district about his behavior between 1993 and 2009.

In a written warning Cucinotti received in 2004, the district advised him to keep teacher-student relationship on a professional level and to stop meeting at lunch and other non-academic times with small groups of girls.

The complaint alleges Cucinotti asked female students if they were naughty and needed to be spanked. He's also accused of looking down the shirt of female students. 

According to the complaint, the district knew about inappropriate behavior months before the most serious sex abuse occurred.

In several interviews with district officials, Cucinotti denied claims of abuse, although, according to online documents, he did admit to jokingly asking a group of 7th grade girls if he should spank them.

The complaint goes onto allege the school district failed to develop a policy for handling allegations of abuse and harassment, failed to investigate claims of abuse and failed to report to law enforcement as required.

According to court papers, the victim, who was 11-years-old at the time of the alleged abuse, has since suffered psychological damage and emotional stress. 

The victim and her family now want the school district to be held accountable and pay for counseling and other medical expenses.

The school district said it has not had a chance to look at the complaint and does not comment on legal matters. 

KXLY left a message Cucinotti, who now lives in California, but he did not respond at the time of publishing this story.