An Alaska school district is facing a lawsuit from a former student after an ex-tutor was convicted of forcing him into sex.


The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District had 15 days to respond to a Nov. 30 letter from the former Tanana Middle School student’s attorney before a civil lawsuit is filed. The Board of Education will evaluate options Monday.


Mike Stepovich says his client’s rape by Claude Fowlkes III could have been avoided, but the district inadequately responded to a 2009 complaint from a Lathrop High School student’s guardian, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Fowlkes was not disciplined and roughly a year later sexually assaulted the Tanana student.


Fowlkes maintained his innocence when he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sexually abusing the student. He is appealing the conviction of first- and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and first-degree sexual assault.


He is scheduled to go to trial Dec. 19 in another sexual abuse case involving a minor.


He has been in jail since 2014, when he was arrested on charges in a similar case involving a Hutchison High School student, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The family of that student also sued the school district, which settled for $920,000.


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