Lawsuit Settled Against Medford and Phoenix-Talent School Districts

MEDFORD, Ore. — Families of children who say two Southern Oregon teachers inappropriately touched them have settled lawsuits with the school districts.

Chris Gilman from the Medford School District and George Kuhns from Phoenix-Talent were fired last year after accusations of inappropriate behavior, but that wasn’t the first time Gilman was accused of inappropriate touching. Families of the victims are asking why the school district allowed it to happen again.

In 2004, the teachers standard and practices commission said Gilman had tickled his female students, allowed them to sit on his lap, and touched their legs and buttocks. The commission placed Gilman on a 2-year probation at the time and told to seek counseling, but he was allowed to keep his job. In 2010, another accusation was made saying Gilman had inappropriately touched his students, and Gilman was fired by the school board.

The District Superintendent and School Board President said they aren’t able to comment on why Gilman was able to keep teaching after those initial accusations. So, the families of the victims filed a lawsuit against the Medford School District, which has now been settled for an undisclosed amount of money.

“They put their kids into the hands of this person who then touched them inappropriately and caused them to suffer the harm that they have now,” said Tom Petersen, the attorney for victims.

Lawyers representing the school district said district funds were not used in the settlement, saying it was covered by its insurance carrier.

As for George Kuhns, the Phoenix-Talent School District says he was fired shortly after they found out he had been touching his kindergarten students. The lawsuit against the school district was also settled for an unknown amount of money.

By Steven Sandberg at Newswatch 12 KDRV