Family of Special-Ed Student Who Was Given Drugs, Sexually Assaulted by Teacher Sues School District

Earlier this year, Kathryn Houghtaling was sentenced to at least four years in prison for sexually assaulting two students

Kathryn Houghtaling
Photo: Rochester County Schools

The family of a former special education student in Michigan has sued the school district, claiming it failed to protect the boy from a teacher who gave him drugs and then sexually assaulted him.

Earlier this year, Kathryn Houghtaling was sentenced to at least four years in prison for sexually assaulting two students. The sentence came after she pleaded no contest to two separate sexual incidents. She admitted to having sex with one boy in a car while other students watched, and also to having sex with another student in his home.

The boys were 16 and 17 at the time of the assaults. Houghtaling was a first-year special education teacher at Rochester High School.

Houghtaling was arrested in January 2019 after a parent found a video of a group of students and Houghtaling “partying” with alcohol and marijuana.

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“I have learned so much about myself and other people through this tough process," Houghtaling said at her sentencing. I’ve learned to take full responsibility for my controllable actions and seek help for those that I cannot control."

According to the civil complaint obtained by the Detroit Free Press, one of the student victims' families has now sued the Rochester School District. The complaint alleges that the student was 17 in 2018 when Houghtaling began flirting with him. She allegedly provided him with Xanax and offered to take tests for him in exchange for sex. She later gave him oral sex in a car.

When the boy fell asleep in class, his parents took him to the hospital and found out that he had Xanax in his system, the complaint alleges.

"A former student at Rochester High School, who suffers from multiple disabilities, including but not limited to a learning disability and attention deficit disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, was repeatedly drugged and raped by his special education teacher, defendant Kathryn Houghtaling," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of freedom. The school district did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

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