GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A federal magistrate has ruled that Chad Curtis is liable for battery against teenage girls who he sexually abused at Lakewood Public Schools. However, the magistrate says Curtis is not automatically liable for intentional infliction of severe emotional distress.
Curtis, a former Major League Baseball player, is serving between 7 to 15 years in prison after being convicted of sexually touching three of the girls in the weight room at Lakewood Public Schools. Curtis was a volunteer and substitute teacher at the school.
In April 2014, four teens filed a civil lawsuit against Curtis in federal court. The fourth victim listed in the suit was not part of the criminal case against him. They filed a motion for summary judgment against Curtis for battery and intentional infliction of severe emotional distress, essentially asking the magistrate to find Curtis responsible as a matter of law without a trial.
In an opinion issued Tuesday, the magistrate found that because Curtis was already convicted of sexually abusing three of the girls, he was responsible for battery and liable to the defendants in their civil lawsuit. The judge also found there was enough to rule in favor of the fourth victim as well.
However, the magistrate found that the law requires a jury to decide if Curtis is liable for intentional infliction of severe emotional distress.
The $4 million lawsuit filed by the teens also names the Lakewood Public Schools and Professional Contract Management, Inc., which was the company that employed Curtis as a substitute teacher. Those institutions were not included in Tuesday’s ruling and the case against them continues.
The recommendation still must be approved by a federal district court judge.