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Extension Granted in Suit Claiming Franklin School District Failed to Protect Girl From Sexual Abuse

Saturday, March 23, 2019 @ 12:03 AM

Posted by exploreClarion

askins-newFRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – An extension has been granted in a federal lawsuit against Franklin Area School District, Superintendent Pamela Dye, and Junior-Senior High School Principal Christina Cohlhepp alleging the district created a climate in which former teacher Kyle Askins could “prey upon” a girl he was convicted of sexually abusing.

A stipulation filed March 21 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania indicates that a 45-day extension was agreed upon by both the plaintiffs and the defendants. The defendants will now have until May 13 to respond to the suit. The previous deadline was March 22.

The civil complaint was filed March 1 by attorneys Wayne H. Hundertmark, of Franklin, and Robert Varsek, of Oil City. They are representing two plaintiffs whose names are being withheld to help protect the identity of the victim.

Allegations within the suit are centered around an ongoing relationship and “a long course of inappropriate physical contact” between teacher Kyle Askins and 13-year-old female student during the 2016-2017 school year.

Askins is also named in the lawsuit.

After pleading guilty in November 2017 to one first-degree felony count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person less than 16 years of age, Kyle Askins, of Franklin, was ordered to serve 54 months to a maximum of 20 years in state prison. He is currently incarcerated at SCI Waymart in Wayne County.

Askins was 25 years old at the time of the incidents and beginning his second year of employment with Franklin Area School District as a health/physical education teacher and coach.

The plaintiff’s in the case are asking a jury to award general and compensatory damages against all named defendants and punitive damages against Askins.

“Askins’ intentional conduct was outrageous and wanton, and committed in total, reckless disregard for (the girl’s) well-being and the laws intended to protect her and similarly situated children, including the criminal laws of Pennsylvania proscribing indecent and sexual assault and corruption of minors, thereby warranting the imposition of punitive damages,” according to the complaint.

Attorneys fees and other related legal costs are also being requested.

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