Jury trial to begin against BSSD over child sexual abuse
Parents of 13 young victims of sexual abuse by convicted former Bering Strait School District employee Amos Oxereok will see their civil lawsuit for personal injury of their children come to jury trial beginning Feb. 4 in the Alaska Second District Court in Nome.
The parents are asking for amounts in excess of $100,000 on behalf of each victim in the lawsuit filed Feb. 17 last year.
The crimes occurred at the public school in the coastal village of Wales. All victims live in the small village of 149 people, about a 40-minute flight from Nome.
Several of the victimized Jane Does 1 through 13 from the same families. Some are Oxereok’s relatives.
BSSD employed Amos Oxereok, 46, as a computer technician and teacher at the school from 2012 to 2016.
Oxereok is in prison serving a sentence of 20 years, handed down by Judge Romano D. DiBenedetto on Feb. 27, 2018.
The state had charged Oxereok on two counts of Sex Abuse Two— Minor under 16, two counts of Sex Abuse Two— Minor under 13 and one count of Harassment with Offensive Physical Contact, according to court documents, all Class B felonies.
In a plea deal, Oxereok pleaded guilty to two counts of Sexual Abuse of A Minor-under 13 years of age. The court dismissed the other counts. Oxereok agreed to an aggravator that victims were more than 10 years younger than he was. An aggravator permits the court to pronounce a more severe sentence.
“BSSD, through its agents and servants, reasonably should have protected students from Amos Oxereok’s proclivity to sexually assault children,” the suit claims.
The suit, according to court documents, states that Oxereok repeatedly sexually assaulted children, including the 13 represented in the suit, in a classroom provided to Oxereok by BSSD. The classroom is in the main school building. A claim for relief alleges that Oxereok’s acts resulted in numerous other civil wrongs being committed against the minor plaintiffs “included, but not limited to, assault and battery; negligence and negligence per se [against state law] and state Criminal Code and other rules that set codes of conduct; intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress; indecent acts against, sexual exploitation and exploitation of minors; and harassment.”
Oxereok’s conduct is a foundation for an award of punitive damages against BSSD, according to the lawsuit, because of “his willful and wanton misconduct, illegal, outrageous and malicious behavior, and conduct which showed a reckless indifference to the interests and wellbeing of minor children.”
The suit goes on to claim past and future damages including emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, loss of earnings and earning capacity, past and future expense for medical and psychological treatment, therapy and counseling, as a basis for damages for each child in an amount in excess of $100,000, the exact amount of which to be proven at trial. The action asks, in addition, punitive damages in an amount to be determined at the trial, plus cost, interest and attorney’s fees in bringing the action, as well as other compensation the court considers appropriate.
In the sentence hearing on the tragedy, several parents, some relatives of Oxereok, came forward with emotion to give words to their feelings of devastation and sorrow concerning Oxereok’s abuse of little girls, some of whom he lured with a display of Barbie dolls.
One parent observed that Oxereok had abused a “whole generation” of children in Wales.
The plea bargain asked for a total of 30 years to serve plus a lengthy probationary term. Judge Romano DiBenedetto handed down a sentence of 30 years with 20 years suspended plus probation for each of two counts. Oxereok must serve the two 10-year incarcerations consecutively, one after another, rather than at the same time, coming to 20 years.
In the suit, the victims and the school district name Oxereok also as a third party defendant.