Luther Public Schools and the Luther School Board were named in a $6 million tort claim filed by the parents of the victim in the Kyle Whitmus case. The former band director was sentenced earlier this week to 20 years in prison for lewd acts with a minor child.
Whitmus, 34, entered a blind plea to three charges that included lewd acts and soliciting sexual contact via text with a minor. The most serious charge against him of rape, was dismissed. The victim was a 12-year-old sixth grader at the time.
The claim was filed way back in January of 2017 and obtained today by The Luther Register.
Date, Time, Place and Circumstances of the Claim:
On February 2, 2016, Kyle Whitmus was arrested for having sexual relationship with … a minor child under the age of 14. The Superintendent and administrators of the Luther School District and several Luther School Board members were aware of Kyle Whitmus’ prior inappropriate conduct with minor female students. The Superintendent and administrators of the Luther School District and several Luther School Board members failed to investigate Kyle Whitmus, failed to terminate Kyle Whitmus, failed to contact the proper authorities regarding Kyle Whitmus and failed to protect the children of Luther Public Schools, including the victim, … , a minor child, …. who suffered severe personal and emotional injuries.
COMPENSATION DEMANDED: $6,000,000.
The parents are represented by Horton Law Firm in Oklahoma City. The suit was sent via certified mail to the district and former Superintendent, the late Dr. Sheldon Buxton, on January 6, 2017.
LPS attorney Phyllis Walta said the district cannot comment on the lawsuit. Calls have been made to the claimant’s attorney for a response and update to the case.
At the criminal sentencing for Whitmus on Monday, current Luther Superintendent Barry Gunn testified that Whitmus was reprimanded and suspended for two days in November of 2012, following an incident with a student band aide. He said Whitmus had taken that student to lunch off campus and also texted her. Gunn said a Plan of Improvement was imposed along with a policy review emphasizing that “teachers do not text students” and to “not take a student anywhere ever.”
Prosecutor Gayland Gieger asked Gunn that when he reprimanded Whitmus in 2012, whether he asked Whitmus if there was sexual contact with the high school student. Gunn said the reprimand “didn’t go there,” and when the student’s phone was confiscated, no explicit texts were recovered.
Later, Gunn said if he had known of any sexual contact between Whitmus and a student, “I would have fired him.”
Luther Police and OSBI launched an investigation in early 2015 on the alleged affair with the 12-year-old student and Whitmus was suspended. He resigned before he could be fired.