Lawsuit targets Utah school district for failing to stop a teacher who sexually abused students

(Photo courtesy of Weber County Sheriff's Office) Drew Tutt.

Two former students are suing Ogden School District, alleging it failed to protect them from a junior high teacher who had inappropriate conversations with and sexually abused several students.

Both plaintiffs were teenage girls when Drew Tutt taught at Mound Fort Junior High School. Their lawsuit alleges that between 2015 and 2016, Tutt “groomed” them and other young students by adding them on social media, chatting with them late at night and putting some in positions as “teacher assistants.”

Tutt, now 31, resigned from his teaching position in October 2016 after a police officer found him with a 14-year-old girl, who was a student, in a car at a park after hours. Police later found that Tutt also sexually abused a 15-year-old student.

Tutt eventually pleaded guilty to two charges of third-degree felony sexual abuse of a minor student in 2018, and is currently serving up to five years in prison.

One of the victims that he admitted to sexually abusing is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, filed Monday in 2nd District Court. Now an adult woman, “Jane Doe 1” alleges in the lawsuit that her former teacher had her work as both his teacher aide and assist him in his duties as the school’s soccer coach.

Her mother had called the Ogden School District in September 2016, the lawsuit states, to file a formal complaint that Tutt had crossed boundaries with her daughter after she found out he had been calling and texting the girl late at night.

"[Her] mother was told that a formal complain would be written," the lawsuit states. "When plaintiff's mother called to follow-up about what was done, the school would not give her any further information."

Jane Doe 1's lawyers, Lauren Hunt and Michael Young, allege in the lawsuit that Tutt began picking up the girl at her house late at night to play "Pokemon Go," encouraged her to sneak out of the house and "made out" with her in his car.

The second plaintiff, identified in court papers as "Jane Doe 2," alleges that Tutt contacted her through various social media platforms frequently and late at night to discuss his relationship with his wife and wanting to get divorced and asking her to get milkshakes with him. He would also send her photos of him cutting himself, the lawsuit alleges.

Both plaintiffs allege that Ogden School District failed to properly investigate Tutt and was aware that he was having inappropriate contact with young students. That led to Tutt's ability to "thoroughly groom" both girls, and the eventual sexual assault of Jane Doe 1.

The lawsuit argues that despite receiving complaints about his behavior. “the district failed to act to ensure this harmful contact stopped.”

Lawyers for the two women also allege that the district was “deliberately indifferent” when school officials knew that Tutt was being represented in his criminal case by a fellow teacher at the school, where Jane Doe 1 continued to attend. This amount to a hostile environment, they allege.

The plaintiffs are asking for at least $300,000 in damages, including damages for causing them emotional distress.

School district officials did not comment on the lawsuit Tuesday, and referred a reporter to the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which defends Utah agencies in court. Their spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.