A former student is suing a science teacher in Texas for the emotional and physical damage he suffered when she allegedly manipulated him into a sexual relationship.
The student, who goes by the pseudonym “Mark Smith,” filed the lawsuit Friday in a Tarrant County civil court, claiming that Rachelle Heenan took advantage of his immaturity during a series of trysts when he was 17 and she was 34, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
He was mentally impacted by what happened,” said Bobbie Edmonds, Smith’s attorney. “He was impressionable, and there was the age difference and the fact that she was a teacher.”
Edmonds alleges that Smith was so damaged that the career he planned in the Marine Corps was ruined by the “the notoriety and embarrassment” brought on by the affair.
Rumors began circulating about the untoward relationship between Heenan and Smith back in May, Fort Worth police Sergeant Pedro Criado told CBS DFW. It began in February 2012 with texting (and “sexting”) and escalated quickly.
“Ultimately the victim and the suspect met each other in the parking lot of a private gym in Fort Worth, held conversations inside the vehicle, and ultimately led to kissing,” Criado said.
“The victim met the suspect at a local hotel in Fort Worth and they eventually had sex for the first time,” Criado said further. “They did have sex after that, I believe multiple times.”
The suit alleges that Heenan “took advantage of [Smith’s] self-confidence, immaturity and dependency issues,” according to the Star-Telegram, and “assaulted, raped and battered him in her capacity of teacher/educator, in violation of the law.”
Court documents also state that the emotional trauma Smith suffered led him to cause more than $24,000 worth of damage to school property, though did not state explicitly what that damage was.
The suit further claims that the Saginaw school district “failed to provide proper supervision, failed to act to warn or otherwise protect young victims and failed to secure the school premises from the sexual assaults that occurred on school premises and at school sponsored events and activities.”
Heenan has two children from her 10-year long marriage. Her husband first alerted police about the suspicious interaction between his wife and her underage student, according to the New York Daily News.
Heenan was placed on administrative leave in May 2012 and indicted in February 2013. She gave up her teaching certificate and was given five years of probation in a plea bargain agreement.