A former high school student filed a lawsuit against the Millville Board of Education earlier this month for not properly supervising a teacher who conducted an inappropriate and illegal sexual relationship with her, according to the lawsuit.
Meagan Jones, 20, the former student, also named Michael S. Drebes, 42, her former math teacher that she was in a sexual relationship with, in the lawsuit for mental and physical injuries — including contracting herpes from Drebes.
In addition, the lawsuit, which was filed on July 3 with Cumberland County Superior Court, names former principal Albert B. Johnson and student assistance counsel Steven Megonigal as defendants.
She requests $450,000 in damages for “various and diverse physical and mental injuries,” including anxiety and medical expenses in excess of $3,600, the lawsuit states.
Jones was 14 at the time and a ninth-grade student at Millville Memorial High School when Drebes began pursing a sexual relationship with her, according to the lawsuit.
The relationship lasted from February 2009 until shortly before his arrest in June 2009.
The Millville Board of Education, Johnson and Megonigal are named as defendants, according to the lawsuit, for negligence in hiring Drebes, failure to investigate the relationship, failure to supervise Drebes and failure to enforce written policies on electronic communication between teachers and students.
“I can’t comment on the lawsuit specifically, however, I can say that we expect our staff members to maintain the highest ethical standards and behave professionally at all times,” said Dr. David Gentile, the current superintendent of Millville Public Schools. “We take all reports of misconduct seriously and all reports are investigated thoroughly.”
In addition to the mental and physical injuries alleged in the lawsuit, Jones also alleges that she contracted herpes from Drebes and he failed to disclose the disease to her or take medication that reduces the risk of spreading herpes to a sexual partner.
Drebes was sentenced to seven years in state prison on June 4, 2010 for sexually assaulting Jones.
The sentence followed a guilty plea by Drebes, according to previous reports, for sexually assaulting Jones.
The former math teacher was previously indicted in September 2009 for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old as well, but those charges were dropped along with charges of witness tampering for allegedly communicating with Jones through social media sites MySpace and Facebook.
These charges were dropped after his guilty plea.
John Drebes Jr., his brother, and Ruth Drebes, his mother, were also charged with witness tampering for contacting one of the two victims and attempting to coerce her into changing her statements to police, previous reports indicated.
Drebes was released from the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Woodbridge Township on June 4.