Extension granted to defendants in suit against Franklin schools

From staff reports

In a lawsuit that alleges Franklin Area School District administrators failed to act diligently to prevent a middle school girl from being sexually abused by a teacher, a stipulation was filed Thursday allowing a 45-day extension to the deadline for defendants to file a response.

The stipulation states the plaintiffs and defendants agree that the defendants’ response will be due on May 13. Initially, the defendants had 21 days from the filing date of March 1.

The defendants in the the lawsuit, filed at federal court in Erie, are the Franklin Area School District, Superintendent Pamela Dye, high school Principal Christina Cohlhepp and former teacher Kyle Askins.

Askins is serving a state prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges stemming from having sexual contact with a female student who was 13 years old at the time.

The lawsuit alleges parents and teachers expressed concerns about Askins and the student having an inappropriate relationship and that the defendants in the case failed to react appropriately to the situation.

The plaintiffs are asking for a jury to award punitive damages for expenses in obtaining treatment for the victim, education at an alternative school district and other means of abating the effects of the abuse.