Family of sexual assault victim sues media outlet

A local media outlet is being sued by the parents of a 16-year-old Yukon boy who was allegedly the victim of a sexual assault by his teacher.
The lawsuit claims the newspaper, the Yukon Progress, identified the teenager and published a photograph of him.

The family filed the lawsuit late Thursday in Canadian County District Court. The family is seeking in excess of $10,000.

The lawsuit claims the newspaper had been notified that a photograph of the teen that was to be published along with a story about the teacher’s Nov. 15 arrest had been altered.

Edmond attorney Billy Lewis said officials with the newspaper, including its publisher, editor and staff writer, ignored the notification and published the photograph twice — in its Nov. 18 edition and a week later in a follow-up story.

The Yukon Review is not identifying the family because it also would identify the teenager, who is allegedly the victim of a sexual assault.

The boy is identified in court papers as C.S., who allegedly had a sexual relationship with former Yukon teacher Hunter Day.

Day, who was a science teacher at Yukon High School, is charged in Canadian County District Court with one count of second-degree rape and solicitation of sex from a minor.

She was charged Nov. 22. She has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond while awaiting a hearing early next year.

According to the court documents, those named in the lawsuit are The Yukon Progress Publishing Co., Staff Writer Mindy Ragan Wood, Editor Tim Farley and Publisher Randy Anderson.

The court documents state that the newspaper published a story in its Nov. 18, 2017, edition that named C.S. as the minor victim, but also published an altered photo of him that presented the teen  in a false and defamatory light.

The lawsuit also claims the story included false and defamatory statements attributable to the victim.

According to the filing, the newspaper was notified on Nov. 17 both by telephone and by email that the photo published had been altered.

Despite the notification, the newspaper published an online version of the story containing the false statements and altered photo, distributed the Nov. 18 edition of the newspaper including the photo and statements, and published additional stories with the information, including the altered photo and false and defamatory statements, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit claims the newspaper never formally retracted the false information published in the story.

The stories exposed the teen and his family to public hatred, contempt, ridicule or disgrace, the lawsuit states.

In addition, the newspaper never contacted the victim’s family or attorney, and continued to publish the statements and photo in follow-up articles.

The lawsuit also claims the newspaper violated the family’s privacy.

A claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress also has been filed.

“The acts of each defendants describe herein were wrongful, extreme and outrageous, transcending the bounds of all human decency,” the document states.

The lawsuit seeks in excess of $10,000 in actual damages, as well as punitive damages.

Lewis, the attorney, said the newspaper ignored its request to not publish the photograph.

“They were notified. … It is pretty egregious when they were notified that it was a doctored photograph and they published it anyway,” Lewis said. “We told them it was doctored. We asked them to take it down. They ran it a second time.”

“I deal with the press all the time. I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said.

Attempts to reach the Yukon Progress’ Anderson were unsuccessful.Yukon Progress lawsuit

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