Date set for federal lawsuit in Ooltewah rape case

Federal District Court Judge Travis McDonough has set a date for the federal lawsuit filed in connection with the Ooltewah rape case, after a hearing on Wednesday.

The hearing only lasted an hour and a half.

Trial is scheduled to begin on June 4th, 2018.

The family of the main victim in the case is suing the Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) and several HCDE employees in federal court.

The victim, referred to in the suit as "John Doe," required hospitalization after being raped with a pool cue, the tip of which broke off inside of him. That required surgery and weeks of recovery in the hospital.

Judge McDonough started the hearing acknowledging that "this is a difficult case."

During Wednesday's hearing, an attorney representing the main victim argued that many of the facts in the case should not be disputed.

Judge McDonough advised the defense to file new answers to the complaints against them because they need to be more concrete.

In responses filed, both the school board and Ooltewah employees deny a culture of abuse existed.

There were no HCDE employees in the courtroom for the hearing.

The plaintiffs say they're considering adding another party to the lawsuit, but didn't specifically say who that would be.

Read the full federal lawsuit here.

Read HCDE's response to the lawsuit here.

Three upperclassmen basketball players were convicted in August in Sevier County for the crimes.

The lawsuit says OHS head basketball coach Andre Montgomery and athletic director Jesse Nayadley all knew about the "culture of abuse,' but did nothing before the December 22nd incident to prevent it from happening. But it also accuses OHS principal Jim Jarvis and the Hamilton County Board of Education were "grossly negligent" and "indifferent" to the welfare of the players.

The lawsuit says the defendants called the plaintiff several slurs, and when he tried to address it to coach Montgomery he was told to "man up."

The lawsuit also claims the victim's rights were violated under Federal Title IX, because the violence and hazing was gender-based. And, it claims that male athletes had been victims of sexual abuse for years, without any adult supervisor taking action to stop it.

A total of three adults were charged with not reporting the crime to state officials: Head Basketball Coach Andre Montgomery, Assistant Coach Karl Williams, and Athletic Director Jesse Nayadley. Montgomery appeared in court last August, where it was decided the Tennessee Attorney General should look at his case. The charges were dropped against Williams in May. Nayadley took a plea deal and completed community service in August.

There's no specific amount asked for in this lawsuit.

Depend on us to keep you posted on this story as it develops.

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