Kennewick Schools sued for not providing public records

Kennewick Schools sued for not providing public records »Play Video

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A new lawsuit has been filed in connection to a former Kennewick teacher who sexually abused students. Tamaki Law is suing the school district for failing to provide information.

"We as taxpayers are entitled to know what is going on behind closed doors," says attorney Jeff Kreutz.

The unknown is what is driving Kreutz. He's been seeking information from the Kennewick School District since October. That was when he filed his first public records request for information connected to former teacher William Pickerel.
    
"The school district indicated they needed a short amount of time in which to provide us these documents. That was four months ago," said Kreutz.

Kreutz said he had no choice but to file a lawsuit against the district.

"We did not want to have to sue the school district to get the records. No one wants to do that. It's a waste of time; it's a waste of judicial resources," said Kreutz.

Kreutz says the district paid for an investigation into Pickerel using taxpayer money, but won't release the results of that investigation.

Pickerel is a once-popular Kennewick High school teacher - popular enough to have a wing once named for him. That was until the district learned Pickerel had been sexually assaulting students for years. The now-78-year-old admitted he had so many victims, he lost count. Pickerel has spent five years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual misconduct.

Kreutz says more victims have come forward recently.

"Not a single one of them has ever been contacted by the school district to acknowledge the victimization that occurred, to provide any type of counseling, provide any type of acknowledgement of what these young boys and young men went through, so I'm not sure what the documents have, we haven't seen them," said Kreutz.

Kreutz is not sure what is in the documents, but he believes it will help his case to prove the negligence on behalf of the district.

"We are confident that the school district had knowledge, or should have had knowledge, of what was happening and didn't act on it," said Kreutz.

And he hopes to force the district to release what it learned using your dollars.

Pickerel is set to be released at any time and Tamaki Law say they fully anticipate to file another lawsuit against the district for failing to protect students.

To read the lawsuit, click here.