Tort claim filed against Fruitland School District

Multiple people within Fruitland schools knew of high school Principal Mike Fitch’s “predatory behavior,” but failed to act, according to a tort claim filed against the district.

A tort claim is a precursor to a civil lawsuit.

The Idaho Statesman reported Monday on the tort claim, filed March 5.

The woman who filed the claim says Fitch was her work supervisor. In the claim, she says Fitch sexually assaulted and harassed her. Because administrators failed to act, school employees took it upon themselves to protect students and staff from Fitch, according to the claim; the group called itself the “Fitch Patrol.”

“Mr. Fitch’s sexual harassment of female staff and students was well known by the Fruitland School District administration,” according to the claim, as reported by the Statesman. “Superintendent Teresa Fabricius had received reports of Mr. Fitch’s sexual misconduct and sexual harassment of students and staff in March of 2018, April of 2018, May of 2018, and August of 2018.”

Contacted by the Statesman, Fabricius declined comment.

Fitch was charged in February with three misdemeanors: two counts of sexual battery and one count of soliciting a prostitute.

Fitch is scheduled to appear in court April 8, the Statesman reported.

Fitch has been on leave since late last year, and Fabricius is acting as Fruitland High School’s principal. On Monday, she told the Statesman that Fitch “is currently employed by the district.” She declined to elaborate.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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