A jury trial has been scheduled in the civil case.
Earlier this year, a former Emmett teacher was sentenced on sex-crime charges for victimizing a student.
Now, the 15-year-old girl’s family has filed a lawsuit against the school district, saying that it was “negligent” in hiring Dustin Kisner and “allowed Kisner to sexually assault Jane Doe.”
Kisner, 36, a former Black Canyon High School math teacher, pleaded guilty in September to two felonies: lewd conduct with a minor and enticing a minor through the internet.
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Third District Judge Brent Whiting sentenced Kisner to three years fixed in prison and 12 years indeterminate on each of the counts, with the sentences to run concurrently. Kisner, who could be eligible for parole after serving three years, also must pay $5,000 in restitution to the victim.
The judge also issued an order barring Kisner from contact with his victim for 15 years, and the former teacher can’t have contact with any girls between the ages of 12 and 18, except for at family events at which another adult is present.
In court, Kisner apologized to the victim and her father.
“It kind of feels like I lit this atomic bomb off in my life and it destroyed everything, but the hard part is the aftermath,” Kisner said, according to the court transcript. “I’ve been trying to deal with the effects I’ve had on people.”
The victim’s father, on behalf of his daughter, has sued Kisner and the Emmett Independent School District. Lawsuit documents allege that the district was “negligent in hiring Kisner, a sexual predator, failed to supervise Kisner, allowed Kisner to sexually assault Jane Doe, and failed to protect Jane Doe resulting in severe emotional injury to Jane Doe.”
Sex crimes, court statements and sentencing
During the sentencing, Gem Prosecuting Attorney Denyce Thompson-Udink said the victim first contacted Kisner on Facebook to ask for a book for class.
“Somehow, from there, their conversations evolved into ones of a sexual nature,” Thompson-Udink said. “And ultimately, they decided, and Mr. Kisner decided, to ask her for photos of herself in lingerie.”
Kisner sexually assaulted the girl on two occasions in his truck after he picked her up, according to Thompson-Udink.
Both the victim, identified as Jane Doe in court documents, and her father spoke at the sentencing. The girl said she didn’t have “any ill feelings towards (Kisner).”
“I don’t really want anything bad to happen to him; besides, I think, if anything, he needs help,” she said.
Her father became emotional, saying his daughter was too young to understand the situation. He saw things in a “completely different” way.
“I hope he’s miserable,” the father said of Kisner. “He deserves to go to prison.”
Jane Doe’s attorney did not respond to the Idaho Statesman’s request for comment.
The judge declined to follow a presentencing report that recommended probation for Kisner, saying the prison sentence would send a message to educators and parents that this kind of behavior would not “be allowed to slide.”
The prosecution had asked the judge to give Kisner four years fixed and eight years indeterminate.
“I’m very concerned that, because of the training and experience you had, you were aware of the harm that this can cause to a young person as you were going through these actions,” Whiting said. “And that is something that is troubling: that knowing the harm that that’s going to cause and then proceeding anyway.”
Lawsuit against Emmett School District
The civil case brought on the girl’s behalf against the Emmett School District was initially filed in September, but it did not move forward until after Kisner’s sentencing.
The lawsuit said the district hired Kisner “without proper screening of Kisner’s history at his previous employment and the reasons why Kisner was terminated.”
Neither Emmett Superintendent Craig Woods nor the district attorney replied to the Stateman’s request for comment.
Kisner worked for the Boise School District from August 2011 to January 2017, district spokesperson Dan Hollar told the Statesman. Hollar said Kisner was on paid administrative leave when he resigned. His resignation was effective Jan. 20, 2019.
The Boise district was subpoenaed twice by Gem County for evidence regarding Kisner’s employment record, including any complaints the district received regarding Kisner and records of the teacher’s interactions with students that were “alleged to be sexual in nature or outside the normal range of contact between teacher and student,” according to court records.
The Boise School District was subpoenaed for a third time on May 7, with a demand for “a copy of the entire investigation file” regarding Kisner.
The Statesman requested a copy of the subpoena but was denied. The Boise district said that under Idaho law, it cannot disclose grievance information about a public employee without the individual’s consent.
“We are able to tell you that the situation did not involve Mr. Kisner engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with students,” Hollar said by email.
Kisner is being sued for alleged battery and child abuse through lewd conduct in the civil suit. The Emmett School District is being accused of “negligent supervision/breach of duty of care” and injury to a child under Idaho Code 18-1501, which allows legal action to be taken against someone who fails to act during a situation that a reasonable person would know would cause a child harm.
Both Kisner and the district are being sued for alleged negligent injury to a child and “negligent/intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
In court documents, the school district responded to the allegations by either denying them or maintaining that it was not at fault.
Both sides requested a jury trial in the civil suit, and it has been set to start June 10, 2024, according to court records.