The Mount Vernon News is reporting this morning that a settlement between John Freshwater and the Doe family in Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education, et al. has been signed. Freshwater was the lone remaining defendant in that suit.
This leaves just one formal proceeding still in progress, the administrative hearing on Freshwater’s termination as a teacher in the district, where we are awaiting the referee’s recommendation to the Board.
Late this afternoon the family released this statement concerning the settlement:
As has been reported, we have settled our claims against John Freshwater. We decided to resolve the lawsuit out of court rather than proceed with a trial for several reasons. The overriding reason for settling was to avoid having to put our son and the other children that would have been called as witnesses through the public spectacle and pressures of a lengthy trial. From the beginning of this process we have always wanted to protect our son and the other kids from the highly public nature of these proceedings. When this matter began, we asked Mr. Freshwater not to publicly disclose the name of our son, but he would not agree to do so. Following this settlement, we intend to continue the efforts we began over a year ago to try to change state law to allow for the protection and privacy of children in these matters. We also decided to settle because we think the record that was developed in the state administrative proceeding and in the depositions and hearings in the federal case unequivocally shows that John Freshwater was in the wrong here. A further trial was therefore not necessary, in our view, particularly in light of our desire to protect our son and the other kids. Finally, we agreed to settle our differences to attempt to put this matter behind us. We likewise hope that the state administrative process will soon end so that all concerned can finally be done with this matter.