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Published: Thursday, November 08, 2018 @ 11:36 AM
— EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of a Dayton Daily News investigation revealing that educators across Ohio are losing their professional licenses for misconduct at unprecedented numbers. The Daily News analyzed a database of thousands of educator misconduct files, and obtained records from schools, police departments, courts and the state, and reached out to ousted teachers and coaches. Some of the cases the newspaper found from districts across the Miami Valley have never previously been reported. Go here for the full report.
A former Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School math teacher surrendered her teaching license last year after she was accused of having an improper sexual relationship with a CJ student in the 1980s, a Dayton Daily News investigation found.
Ann E. Meyers had her license suspended as part of a settlement agreement with the Ohio Department of Education in July 2017. Under the settlement, Meyers agreed never to apply for another license from ODE.
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The suspension came 10 months after the former student reported her allegations to Dayton police.
Meyers, a famed University of Dayton basketball star, did not return messages seeking comment left on her phone and at her home.
Ohio education records don’t say what caused the state to act against her license, only that she refused to take part in a state investigation into alleged misconduct.
Dayton police department records obtained by the Daily News show that in September 2016 a former CJ student alleged in a complaint that she had been sexually assaulted by Meyers over a two-year period, beginning when the student was a high school junior and ending when she was a college freshman.
No charges were filed, but Dayton police referred the matter to Chaminade Julienne and Montgomery County Children Services, which passed the information along to the Ohio Board of Education, according to Dayton police.
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The Daily News is not naming the woman because she is an alleged victim of a sexual assault. She told police that Meyers engaged in an improper sexual relationship with her in the early 1980s. Meyers was a teacher and coach at the school at the time.
Meyers never forced her to have sex, the woman told police, but she said she felt pressured into it by Meyers’ stature. Meyers was her softball coach before the relationship turned sexual, according to her statements to police. She was not a student in Meyers’ classroom.
“The (victim) said that she looked at the suspect as a personal hero and she felt like she didn’t want to let her down, which was probably the major reason that led to her entering a ‘relationship’ with the suspect,” the police report says.
Meyers is described in the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame as “the most accomplished woman athlete ever to represent UD.” She graduated from UD in 1980 a three-time All-American in basketball and to this day holds the scoring record for women’s basketball. Her name appears 42 times in UD’s record books.
She was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in May 2017.
In 2013, Meyers was one of the first inductees to the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Legends Class.
“Ann Meyers is not merely our first female student-athlete to receive a full athletic scholarship,” then-UD athletic director Tim Wabler said at the time. “As our all-time leading scorer and the leader of UD’s first national championship team, she also set standards of excellence that current Flyers strive for every day.”
The alleged victim told police she was hesitant to report what happened for fear of negative repercussions from the community. She eventually contacted police at the urging of her counselor, she said.
“(She) began to blame herself for the depressed feeling she was having because she said that she knew what she did with the suspect was ‘wrong’…. The suspect was a teacher and she was a kid,” the police report says.
The statute of limitations for rape and sexual battery in Ohio is 25 years except in cases involving extremely young children or where DNA technology was not originally available. This means the statute of limitations on the former student’s allegations would have ended at 2010 at the latest.
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Ohio’s Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for educators bars sexual contact with students in a variety of ways, stating that educators must “maintain a professional relationship with all students at all times, both in and outside the classroom.”
CJ officials won’t say when they learned of the allegations against Meyers or what action they took. Earlier this year they said she no longer worked at the school because she lost her license.
In response to questions from the Daily News, Chaminade Julienne President and CEO Dan Meixner said in a statement the school’s policy is to not release employee information.
“However, also by policy, Chaminade Julienne reacts promptly in situations in which the school receives information about alleged misconduct by employees,” the statement says.
Meixner said the policy is guided by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Decree on Child Protection, which requires the school to suspend the accused employee and cooperate with law enforcement and Ohio Department of Education investigations.
Although not directly controlled by the archdiocese, CJ has adopted the church’s rules for handling child abuse allegations, according to the statement. The school and church for nearly two decades have conducted regular background checks for employees and training on protecting children and reporting suspected inappropriate behavior by adults, the statement says.
“In every case that involves abuse, we grieve with those who suffered through the actions of individuals who were entrusted with their protection, and we pray that God will grant them peace and healing,” Meixner’s statement says.
The case has come to light as the Catholic church has tried to atone for mishandled allegations of abuse at the hands of religious figures.
Earlier this year a Dayton Daily News investigation found at least seven priests or Marianist brothers who worked at Chaminade Julienne or the University of Dayton faced accusations of inappropriate behavior elsewhere. This includes a principal at Chaminade High School – the all-male predecessor to CJ – in the 1940s.
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Cincinnati Archdiocese spokesman Mike Schafer said the archdiocese and school followed all required steps after learning about the allegation involving Meyers, including making sure the employee was on leave during the investigation.
“I know we followed all those steps in regard to this,” he said.
Schafer would not say when the archdiocese learned of the allegation. He said the church did not conduct its own investigation and is unaware of whether the school did.
“The archdiocese urges anyone who suspects, or has experienced, abuse on the part of any agent of the archdiocese to please report it to the appropriate civil authorities,” Schafer said.
When contacted by the Daily News, University of Dayton officials said they were not notified of the allegations against Meyers.
University officials said Meyers has worked at the scorer’s table at basketball games in the past, including working a couple of games last season, but she does not currently hold any paid or unpaid positions at the university.
The annual Ann E. Meyers Award of Excellence for Achievement in Academic and Athletic Effort in Women’s Basketball and Volleyball, established years ago, was awarded most recently in February of this year.
Dan Frondorf, Cincinnati leader of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said the archdiocese should make public all credible allegations of abuse by an employee of a Catholic institution. The archdiocese posts on its website the names of priests defrocked for abusing minors, but does not list cases involving disciplinary action taken against non-clergy.
“If it was reported to the archdiocese that one of their employees hurt somebody, then they have a responsibility to inform the public,” he said.
Frondorf said he was 17 when he was sexually assaulted by a priest but told no one about it for decades for fear of not being believed. He finally admitted what happened when another man went public.
Public disclosure of such cases is important, Frondorf said, because “it gives an opportunity for the survivor to know I’m not the only one.”
“And that’s a big thing,” he said. “Most survivors who haven’t come forward haven’t done so because they thought they were the only one.”