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Former Fruitland principal, school district facing retaliation, sexual harassment lawsuit

The lawsuit comes over a month after a jury acquitted Mike Fitch, 44, of two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery and one count of patronizing a prostitute.
Credit: KTVB
Fruitland High School. File photo.

BOISE, Idaho — A woman who accused a former Fruitland High School principal of offering her money for sex and inappropriately touching her is now suing him and the Fruitland School District, according to the Idaho Press.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Idaho’s federal court, comes over a month after a jury acquitted Mike Fitch, 44, of two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery and one count of misdemeanor patronizing a prostitute.

Fitch, who had worked for the school district for over 20 years, resigned from his position in April following the criminal charges. He testified in the case Oct. 3 and denied allegations against him. The jury acquitted him of all three misdemeanor charges.

RELATED: Former Fruitland principal found not guilty of sexual battery

The civil lawsuit filed this week claims the school district retaliated against Megan Fenton, who was hired in August 2018 as the college and career counselor at the high school, after she reported Fitch’s alleged sexual harassment.

The Fruitland School District does not comment on pending litigation, a district official said. A phone number called for Fitch was no longer in service.

The civil complaint claimed Fitch had inappropriate conduct with female high school students prior to Fenton’s experience, and said staff raised concerns about such conduct numerous times.

“Despite his well known conduct toward female students and staff, (the Fruitland School District) and School Board failed to investigate or address any of Fitch’s conduct until he was placed on administrative leave … in November of 2018,” the complaint states.

RELATED: Tort claims contend Fruitland principal sexually harassed students

The lawsuit alleges the school district created a sexually hostile culture “by failing to address the reports and incidents of sexual harassment/inappropriate conduct by Fitch” and dissuaded other victims from coming forward about Fitch’s misconduct.

The Idaho State Police investigated the allegations Fenton made against Fitch starting in August or early September of 2018. The lawsuit claims the school district was aware of the investigation but kept Fitch employed and did not place him on administrative leave until after Fenton’s interview with police in November 2018.

Fenton and her lawyers, Sam Johnson and Shawnee Perdue, are also claiming civil battery and civil assault against Fitch.

According to the complaint, Fitch constantly sent unwanted graphic and descriptive emails to Fenton. The complaint alleges he also battered her by placing her hand on his penis and grabbing her ponytail to move her head toward his groin.

The lawsuit demands a jury trial and damages to be determined at that time.

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