Former Teachers Arrested as Sex Abuse Lawsuit Begins

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Two former Kentucky middle school teachers
have been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a student decades

The arrests coincided with the beginning of the student's civil trial against a local board of education in which she claims the board concealed the teachers' pattern of abuse.

Former Beaumont Junior High School teacher Roberta Walter, known at the time as Roberta Blackwell, was arrested late Monday night in Nashville, Tenn., and charged with third-degree sodomy and third-degree rape, Lexington Police Sgt. Jesse Harris said.

Russell Hubbard, a former science teacher, was arrested in Pennsylvania and charged with third-degree rape and four counts of
first-degree sodomy. The arrests were first reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Both are accused of raping Carol Lynne Maner when she was a 15-year-old student at Beaumont Junior High in the late 1970s. They were in police custody on Tuesday and will be extradited to Lexington.

It is unclear whether the arrests would affect Maner's long-running lawsuit against the Fayette County Board of Education, which began Monday and is expected to last several weeks.

Maner has accused the board of concealing evidence of a pattern of sexual abuse by four teachers, a guidance counselor and an assistant principal at Beaumont and Lafayette High School nearly 30 years ago.

On the first day of arguments, attorney Chris Miller of Lexington, warned jurors to be prepared for disturbing details of Maner's sexual abuse that was so rampant "that you may think there is no way this could happen in this community."

Larry C. Deener, who represents the school board, defended the school board and said administrators were not responsible for Maner's abuse, were not aware of it at the time and did not cause it.

"The suggestion that there was this permissive, rampant behavior and that the board didn't care" is not true, he said.

Maner came forward with allegations of abuse in August 2003 claiming that the school board ignored complaints from her mother that Maner was being abused.

Miller said then-superintendent Guy S. Potts asked the school principal to investigate allegations that Maner was having a sexual relationship with one of her teachers, but he did not say it was suspected to be abuse.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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