Breathitt Co. Board of Education, Turner named in two lawsuits

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

JACKSON, Ky (WYMT) - The Breathitt County School Board, a suspended interim superintendent and former superintendent Arch Turner have all been named in federal lawsuits.

Two separate lawsuits have been filed by two school administrators claiming that they were retaliated against because of their cooperation with the FBI during a vote buying investigation.

Earlier this year former Breathitt County Schools Superintendent Arch Turner pleaded guilty in a vote buying scheme from the 2010 election.

Now two employees have filed federal lawsuits against Turner, suspended interim superintendent Melanie Stevens, the Breathitt County School Board and several individual members of the board.

Both complaints say the cases involves harassment, intimidation, discrimination and retaliation.

Charles David Napier is the assistant superintendent for Breathitt County Schools as well as director of pupil personnel.

Napier claims in a lawsuit filed this week that Turner, Stevens and members of the school board retaliated against him because he provided information to the FBI during their investigation into former Superintendent Turner.

Steve Banks is the Breathitt County School Systems Transportation Director.

He claims in his lawsuit that during the 2010 election, Turner demanded money from him to support a school board candidate.

When he refused, the complaint says Turner threatened his employment. Banks also says he provided information to the FBI about Turner.

Both complaints say after Turner was released from jail he continuously stated that he would "get to read what everyone had given to the FBI and that he would get even."

Napier and Banks claim part of the retaliation against them was fewer working days.

Banks still works as the Transportation Director, but at reduced pay according to the lawsuit.

Napier is on extended medical leave due to anxiety and depression according to the lawsuit.

Both are seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney fees.

Mountain News did try to contact all those named in the case.

Shirley Hudson who is the Breathitt County School Board Chair said she did not want to comment but told Mountain News, "it is an issue that we will resolve as quickly as possible."

Arch Turner's attorney said he did not have a comment at this time.

The other defendants could not be reached.

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