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Lorena ISD parents try to change laws so school administrators can't have immunity in child sex abuse cases

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Posted at 3:10 PM, Jul 09, 2024

LORENA, Texas (KXXV) — Lorena ISD parents are meeting with lawmakers to try and change laws when it comes to school administrators being immune from lawsuits in child abuse cases.

25 News spoke with one parent who told me he’s meeting with Senator Birdwell’s office soon.

Nicolas Scott Crenshaw was found guilty last May and sentenced to 40 years behind bars for sexually abusing a four and five-year-old girl at Lorena Primary School.

Their parents filed a lawsuit against Lorena ISD and Lorena Primary Principal April Jewell claiming Jewell covered up the sexual assault.

Jewell tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, but a federal judge in Waco denied the request saying, “The lack of executive action shocks the conscience. Jewell was given direct reports of inappropriate behavior from multiple school officials and failed to even ask the questions necessary to investigate the report.”

After that statement, a state-wide parent advocacy group called Texas Education 911 took notice calling the judge’s statement a watershed moment.

Aileen Blachowski with Texas Ed 911 says, “We don’t see pleadings that are being made before the court that causes a judge to do what the Lorena judge did. That is a signal to the entire legal world that says the court is intervening here and you will not claim sovereign immunity. You don’t get it cause your actions were so egregious.

Lane Wakefield, a Lorena Primary parent, is working with Texas Ed 911 to change the law so school administrators can’t be immune from lawsuits when it comes to sexual child abuse.

"This bill would take him so anytime there is child abuse there would be no immunity claims on individuals," Wakefield said.

Wakefield has reached out to Senator Brian Birdwell’s office to ask him to sponsor the bill.

We reached out to Senator Birdwell’s office and they told me, "We are working on setting up a meeting with him and the senator at the beginning of next month, per his request, and are looking forward to the discussion.”

The Lorena ISD school district maintains their innocence saying:

"Lorena ISD didn’t "look the other way" or take any actions that made it easier for Crenshaw to commit his crimes. We are confident in the judicial system, and Lorena ISD’s position is to allow the legal process to run its course."

The Lorena parents are having a fundraiser this Saturday at 9 a.m. to gain support for the bill they’re trying to get passed.

It is called “Jane’s Justice” for the victim Jane Doe. It will be held at The Boujee Bean at 109 Center Street in Lorena. They will have a special coffee drink in Jane’s honor and have a prayer for Jane Doe.