He was 10 years old when his charter school principal took a group of students on a trip to the bowling alley as a reward for doing well in class.
But the principal, Charles Weber, ended up violating the fifth grader. He took him to the bowling alley restroom, the boy says, and raped him.
Now, the Utah County boy and his mother are suing Soldier Hollow Charter School, alleging its board of directors ignored complaints from parents and staffers for years about Weber’s inappropriate behavior. Had they done something, the attorney for the now-17-year-old boy wrote in court papers, he would not have been abused in 2011.
Weber is in prison after he admitted in 2014 to sexually abusing several young boys.
Florida-based attorney Daniel Ellis said Tuesday that Weber’s abuse has had a lasting impact on his teenage client. He became suicidal and, at age 13, was bulimic. He was traumatized by it. The worst part, Ellis said, is that the school had “major red flags” that Weber was abusing children and did nothing.
"What this kid has been through has just been horrific," he said. "This is someone whose teenage years were stolen from him. He's coming to seek justice for what he went through."
The lawsuit, filed Monday in 3rd District Court, alleges that “numerous reports” had been made to the charter school’s board about its principal. In 2007, a mother complained that there was “something weird going on” with her son and Weber, according to the lawsuit. Two years later, multiple parents and staffers told the board that Weber routinely used the student restroom on campus, and he had removed all of the privacy panels in the restroom.
"The only conceivable purpose of this action was so that Weber could look at students' genitals," the lawsuit states.
Also in 2009, a parent reported that Weber had been slapping the children’s butts and another parent reported that Weber would routinely bring students into his office alone and close the door.
The boy's attorneys allege that Soldier Hollow Charter School took no corrective efforts to try to protect their students from Weber and failed to investigate the complaints.
The charter school did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Weber, now 72, is serving a 10-year-to-life prison sentence after he admitted in 2014 that he had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy between January and April of 2012. The teen was formerly a student at the charter school. Weber also has admitted that he had sexual contact with a teen boy at his home in 2008 and 2009.
Additionally, he has admitted that he sexually abused an adult man in 2010 after he threatened to call the police over a stolen computer if the man did not touch his genitals.
Authorities began investigating Weber in 2012 after a 48-year-old man contacted police and told them Weber had sexually abused him between 1975 and 1977. The man was then 11 years old and a student in Weber’s class, but charges were not filed in the decades-old case because the legal deadline had passed.
Wasatch County prosecutors have said that Weber groomed dozens of students throughout his career, but it is unknown how many of those interactions rose to a criminal level.
Ellis said his client told his mother that he was in pain when he came back from the field trip to the bowling alley, but did not tell her what had happened. The boy eventually told investigators in 2012, but criminal charges were never filed against Weber specifically related to his report.