Parents sue local school district, say no one investigated custodian on claims of sexual assault

WEST MILTON — The parents of a West Milton boy are suing the district and an elementary school custodian after he was accused of raping their child.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in Miami County Common Pleas Court, the parents claim that custodian Jerry North began following their elementary school-aged son into the bathroom at Milton-Union Elementary School and giving him candy in August 2019.

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Their son disclosed to them that North would “stare at him and refuse to give him privacy as he went to the bathroom,” noting it made him “extremely uncomfortable.” The lawsuit later alleges that North would sexually assault the child in the bathroom.

North allegedly threatened the boy and used candy as a way to ensure he wouldn’t tell anyone about the assault.

The child’s mother complained to “several district employees” about her son’s claims, but said none of the employees investigated North.

The district’s superintendent, Dr. Brad Ritchey, allegedly responded to the complaint by suggesting the child, who was seven years old at the time, could use a bathroom on the other side of the school or “hold it” until he got home.

Ritchey also allegedly accused the child’s parents of profiling North “for being gay.”

North was arrested in early May in connection to the assaults and indicted on three counts of rape, two counts of gross sexual imposition, and one count of intimidation. He’s set to go to trial on Nov. 28, according to court documents.

The child’s parents are suing for $200,000 in damages, asking for $25,000 for each count laid out in the lawsuit.

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The Milton-Union Board of Education, North, Richey, individually and in his role as superintendent, and two other unnamed school employees are named in the lawsuit.

News Center 7′s Mike Campbell reached out to Richey about the accusations Wednesday, but didn’t receive a response.

Campbell talked to Mandy Church, a mother with children in Milton-Union Schools. She said the entire situation has been a mess since North was arrested in May.

“There’s tons of people in this school I trust, but one incident like this makes it hard,” Church said.

We checked with West Milton Police Wednesday and they said they have not received any additional complaints about North since his arrest.