Father claims Medford School District released son to sexual predator

The father of a young boy who was molested by a convicted sexual predator is suing the Medford School District for $5 million after officials reportedly allowed the boy to leave school with the man without his parents approval. The civil claim alleges Richard Lee Taylor, 59, then sexually abused the boy after picking him up from McLoughlin Middle School.

The incident allegedly occurred on Oct. 15, 2009, when the boy fell ill at school and wanted to leave. The boy was reportedly then released into the custody of Taylor, who at the time was a registered sex offender.

"The school broke it's own policy," said attorney Tim Williams, who is representing the boy and his father. "School policy allows students to be released only to their own parents, legal guardian or an authorized individual."

Williams included a section of the school district's board policy, which states "During school hours or while engaging in school-sponsored activities, students will be released only into the custody of parents or other authorized persons."

This policy was adopted by the district in 1992, Williams said.

Named in the lawsuit were Medford School District Superintendant Phil Long and McLoughlin Middle School Principal Amy Tiger.

Long declined to comment on the pending litigation when contacted this afternoon.

The suit claims the school allowed the boy into Taylor's custody after failing to make contact with the boy's parents and grandparents.

Williams declined to comment on the boy's connection to Taylor.

The boy was one of two children abused by Taylor, who was sentenced to 22 life sentences last year after being found guilty of five counts each of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree sodomy; and three counts each of first- and second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse.

The criminal case against Taylor began in October 2009 when a school official learned that Taylor had sexually abused two 12-year-old boys. Medford sex crimes detectives found that Taylor was a family friend of one victim's parents.

The lawsuit claims the victim suffered severe physical and emotional injury from the abuse.

Taylor's brother-in-law found about 30 mini-DVDs used in video cameras among Taylor's belongings. Upon viewing them the brother-in-law found child pornography recorded on the discs and went to police. The recordings showed Taylor sexually abusing the victims.

The lawsuit is capped at a maximum $5 million, Williams said.

He added that his Bend-based law firm, which tries cases across the state, rarely sees this type of case.

"It's exceedingly rare," Williams said. "I take no joy in suing the district. They mostly do a great job of keeping kids safe, but we feel that mistakes were made here and the district needs to be held accountable."

Williams said the case could drag on for close to a year, as each side will begin sifting through the numerous documents related to the criminal case.

Among other items, Williams' firm will request the full report into Taylor's case from the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.

— Chris Conrad

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