The former Wellsburg Middle School
WELLSBURG – A Brooke County woman has filed a civil lawsuit claiming a Wellsburg Middle School music teacher sexually abused her when she was a student there.
The woman, identified only as J.R., filed her complaint May 18 in Brooke Circuit Court against the county school board and teacher Timothy Thomas Turner.
In the 12-page complaint, the woman says she attended Wellsburg Middle School, where Turner was the music teacher. The school since has closed, consolidating into Brooke Middle School.
During her eighth-grade year, the plaintiff says she often had detention, and Turner often supervised detention. She says she and Turner often interacted during detention “and a relationship began.” She says she often ate lunch with Turner even when she wasn’t in detention, and she says she often spent time with Turner alone in the band room.
“Other teachers, school administrators, and students were aware that defendant Turner and plaintiff spent as much time as possible together in school,” the complaint states. “Although not enrolled in a music program at the school, J.R. had mentioned an interest in learning to play violin and defendant Turner offered to teach her how to play outside of school hours.”
The complaint says Turner later conspired to spend more time with the plaintiff outside of school hours. Such incidents included a trip to the Wellsburg Fourth of July Festival and a meeting at a park near J.R.’s home in Bethany.
“During these two meetings, defendant Turner had inappropriate contact of a sexual and/or romantic nature with J.R.,” the complaint states, adding that the plaintiff was 14 years old at the time. Turner was 39.
According to the complaint, a Brooke High School student told a teacher in 2018 that she was aware of a Wellsburg Middle School teacher being sexually involved with J.R. during the summer of 2015. That led to a three-count grand jury indictment against Turner charging him with sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust to a child, third-degree sexual abuse and soliciting a minor via computer.
Prior to the end of his trial this January, Turner entered a plea to a misdemeanor offense of battery. He voluntarily and permanently surrendered his teaching certificate as part of the plea. He currently is serving a two-year prison term at the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville.
The civil complaint accuses the defendants of vicarious liability, civil conspiracy, fraudulent concealment, sexual assault and harassment at school, violation of state code and negligent infliction of emotional distress. It accuses the school board of negligent retention, hiring and supervision, and it accuses Turner of violating state code for having sexual relations with plaintiff when she was a child.
J.R. seeks compensatory damages for her injuries, which include permanent physical injuries, past and future pain, suffering and mental anguish; past and future lost enjoyment of life; past and future humiliation; embarrassment; indignity; shame; economic damages; diminished earning capacity; future lost wages; attorney fees; court costs and other relief.
She is being represented by Teresa Toriseva and Joshua Miller of Toriseva Law in Wheeling. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Michael J. Olejasz.
Brooke Circuit Court case number 20-C-33