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Sandra J. Oglesby and Donald Oglesby v. Holly Eikszta

September 21, 2011

SANDRA J. OGLESBY AND DONALD OGLESBY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
HOLLY EIKSZTA, INDIVIDUALLY; LISA WILES, INDIVIDUALLY; NANCY SHAROFF, INDIVIDUALLY; VICTORIA LELAND, INDIVIDUALLY; THERESA SHEELY, INDIVIDUALLY; SHERRY SHARPE, INDIVIDUALLY; TASHIA BROWN, INDIVIDUALLY; AND THE ELLENVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, NEW YORK, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Neal P. McCurn, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

I. Introduction

Presently before the court in this civil rights action is a motion for summary judgment by defendants against plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are Sandra J. and Donald Oglesby ("Plaintiffs" or "the Oglesbys"). Plaintiffs are the adoptive parents of twin girls, IG and NR ("the twins"), and the biological parents of one boy, ID, all of whom have been enrolled as students in the Ellenville Central School District ("the School District"). The Oglesbys seek relief from the defendants in this case for injuries allegedly suffered as a result of defendants' alleged malicious and false report of child abuse against Plaintiffs to the Child Protective Service in Kingston, New York. Defendants are the School District and several of its employees, sued in their individual capacities ("the individual defendants"): Holly Eikszta ("Eikszta"), principal of Ellenville Elementary School ("the elementary school"); Lisa Wiles ("Wiles), superintendent of the School District; Nancy Sharoff ("Sharoff"), ID's former teacher; Victoria Leland ("Leland"), school nurse at the elementary school; Theresa Sheely ("Sheely"), school psychologist at the elementary school; Sherry Sharpe ("Sharpe"), Director of Special Education for the School District during the relevant time; and Tashia Brown ("Brown"), assistant principal of the elementary school during the relevant time. Plaintiffs oppose the pending motion, and Defendants reply. Decision is rendered on the papers submitted without oral argument.

II. Factual Background

The following facts are undisputed except where noted.

In August 2002, Plaintiffs became the pre-adoptive parents of IG and NR as well as their two biological brothers. At that time, the twins were four years oldand their brothers were ages six and eight. The Oglesbys' biological son, ID, was six years old at the time. Due to inappropriate sexual conduct between the twins and their biological brothers, one incident of which was witnessed by ID, the twins' biological brothers were removed from Plaintiffs' home and adopted by other families. The following August, Plaintiffs became the adoptive parents of IG and NR.

At some point after the twins' biological brothers were removed from Plaintiffs' home but before the twins started kindergarten, the Plaintiffs observed the twins interacting with each other in a sexually inappropriate manner. Thereafter, Plaintiffs engaged the twins in therapy, during which the twins conveyed a history of sexual abuse, experienced in both their biological and previous foster homes. According to Plaintiffs, as a result of the alleged prior sexual abuse, both IG and NR are "triggered" by certain objects which cause them to have "urges" to engage in sexually inappropriate behaviors, such as masturbation. However, while both IG and NR have reported incidents of being triggered and having the urge to masturbate, Plaintiffs have only witnessed IG engaged in masturbation activities.

In order to monitor the activities of IG and NR, Mr. Oglesby installed video cameras in Plaintiffs' home. Plaintiffs communicated this information directly to Eikszta. According to Mrs. Oglesby, the cameras were installed at the recommendation of staff at New York Presbyterian Hospital in order to keep the children safe, but the only conduct observed as a result of the surveillance was NR biting her toenails.

When IG was in kindergarten, an issue arose involving her being triggered in an inappropriate sexual manner by a rug upon which students sat during readingtime. Plaintiffs addressed their concern in this regard to Eikszta and IG's teacher. Plaintiffs provided a special pillow for IG to sit on during reading time, which resolved the issue and IG successfully completed kindergarten. Plaintiffs also admit that in the first grade, IG's conduct was inappropriate at times but within normal limits for a child her age. Therefore, Plaintiffs admit, during first grade IG developed into an "A" student, both socially and academically.

Plaintiffs both admit that in the second grade, IG's condition began to deteriorate markedly. In November 2005, while a second grade student, IG inserted a camp trophy and a caulking gun into her vagina, injuring herself and causing bleeding. Plaintiffs took IG to her family doctor, who noted that IG needed to be hospitalized. IG was thereafter hospitalized at New York Presbyterian Hospital for approximately four weeks. The hospitalization was reported to the School District. In January 2006, IG returned to the elementary school. At that time, certain recommendations were made to address safety concerns for IG while at school, especially while using the bathroom. Plaintiffs expressed concerns to various employees of the School District that IG was taking items into the bathroom and using them to masturbate. To resolve this issue, a protocol was established whereby IG was to be asked, prior to using the bathroom, to empty her pockets to ensure that she was not taking any items in with her. Mrs. Oglesby discussed this protocol with Eikszta, Sheely (school psychologist), and Leland (school nurse).

Also, Mrs. Oglesby testified that at some point after the time of IG's hospitalization, she communicated to Leland that on occasion she was examining IG's and NR's vaginas to see if they had injured themselves. Sheely testified that Mrs. Oglesby told her she had inspected IG's vagina at one point and discovered itwas red.

During the first week IG was back at school, she reported to Mrs. Oglesby that there was something long and sharp in Leland's bathroom that was causing her upset. Mrs. Oglesby repeatedly contacted Leland, Eikszta and Sheely regarding this issue. Sometime in late March or early April 2006, after receiving no response to her inquiries, Mrs. Oglesby went to the school and looked at the bathroom to determine what was bothering IG. While in the bathroom located in Leland's office, Mrs. Oglesby was accompanied by IG and the school security guard, George E. Barthel. IG pointed out a long metal spigot and told Mrs. Oglesby that she had been using it to masturbate. Mrs. Oglesby expressed her concern to Mr. Barthel that IG was self-mutilating, and Mr. Barthel responded that he should not be privy to such information.

Leading up to April 24, 2006, Mrs. Oglesby had a number of meetings with Leland, Eikszta and Sheely, among others, about the metal spigot and the obsessive compulsive nature of IG's problems. On April 18, 2006, Plaintiffs met with superintendent Wiles and discussed the danger presented to IG by reason of the metal spigot and the School District and Leland's refusal to either closely monitor or supervise IG while in the bathroom.

Also at some point leading up to April 24, 2006, the Oglesbys and their children went on vacation. Thereafter, an issue arose regarding a quiz that Sharoff, ID's teacher at the time, required ID to take upon his return to school. On April 20, 2006, Mrs. Oglesby sent a written complaint to Sharoff, expressing concern that ID was not provided with the materials necessary to succeed on the ...


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