Knoxville — The first pending civil trial stemming from the actions of former West Elementary Principal Sidney Graham is scheduled to begin Aug. 6. However, arguments are still being made regarding the case before it is ever presented to a jury.
Graham, as well as the Knoxville Community School District and Sheldon Davids, are named as defendants in a case filed by one of Graham's sexual abuse victims. The lawsuit alleges that the school district carries liability for what happened to the plaintiff as a child within the school system. This is not only from the abuse he suffered from Graham, but claims of further emotional and mental distress as he grew older.
Graham pled guilty to two counts of third-degree sexual abuse in 2004. He continues to serve two, 10-year prison sentences.
A motion for summary judgment in the J.S. civil case was filed by Brad Beaman, on behalf of the school district and Davids on June 7. A hearing was held today regarding that motion. Prior to argument on the motion, Judge Gary Kimes expressed his concern regarding the timing of the motion and the trial. This lawsuit was filed in October 2010 and was scheduled to go to trial in May, before being continued to August.
"The motions you have filed are quite extensive," Kimes said. Given that the trial is expected to begin within three weeks concerns him, as well as the fact that the 10-day trial will coincide with the Knoxville Nationals. Attorneys for J.S., the school district and Davids recognize this concern.
Beaman's argument for summary judgment sought dismissal of the charges against Davids and the school district. Graham has his own counsel, who was not present at this hearing. Beaman argued that disciplinary treatment of J.S. was known to the plaintiff's mother, as it was discussed when the district formulated the individual education plan for J.S. The plaintiff alleges that she did not know her son would be placed in a "time out" room.