AP NEWS

Claims against school over teen’s disappearance dismissed

February 17, 2019

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed an eastern Pennsylvania mother’s argument that a school should be held responsible for psychological harm and bad publicity over her teenage daughter’s disappearance to Mexico with a married man.

The suit alleged that Lehigh Valley Academy violated the mother’s rights by repeatedly allowing 46-year-old Kevin Esterly to sign her out of classes.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Leeson said Thursday that the school wasn’t involved on the day she disappeared, since the suit alleges the two met at a bus stop before school. Attorney Everett Cook said an appeal is planned, but other claims may have to be pursued in Lehigh County Court.

Esterly was sentenced to 2½ to five years in December on a misdemeanor corruption of a minor plea. He apologized but said their relationship was innocent.

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This story has been corrected to cite suit as alleging the two met at bus stop.