Claims against Teacher Resurface
Northwest Coach Named in Inquiry after Decade-Old Sex Settlement Unearthed
By Stephanie Warsmith and Katie Byard
Beacon Journal [Ohio]
October 7, 2006
The state is investigating the certification of Vic Whiting, a teacher and head football coach at Northwest High School.
Whiting holds an Ohio teaching certificate, despite being the subject of a confidentially settled lawsuit involving alleged sexual contact with a 15-year-old female student, according to the Toledo Blade newspaper.
Whiting was among 10 men identified in a Blade article on Friday as former or current Catholic priests or teachers being investigated by the Ohio Department of Education because of alleged sexual misconduct. All 10 are certified to teach in Ohio, but Whiting is the only one now teaching, according to the Blade.
The newspaper reported that Whiting was accused in a lawsuit of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old female student on several occasions in 1990, when he worked at St. John's High School in Delphos, near Toledo.
The student sued the Diocese of Toledo and St. John's in 1995. The woman, then 20, accused Whiting of touching her sexually, kissing her and making her touch him sexually while she was a student in 1990. She sought damages of more than $25,000, according to the Associated Press.
The case led to a confidential settlement between the woman and the diocese, said Sally Oberski, a diocese spokeswoman.
No criminal charges were filed against Whiting, Oberski said.
The diocese received a subpoena from the Ohio Department of Education requesting information about Whiting and forwarded the subpoena to Dan Funk, Whiting's North Canton attorney.
Funk couldn't be reached for comment Friday.
Whiting, 50, has been the head football coach and a business teacher at Northwest High School since 1999. He was the head football coach for St. John's High School for 10 years before that.
Reached by phone Friday, Whiting said of the Blade article, "That's probably from something that happened 14 years ago. It's dead and gone. So, no comment."
Asked whether he was aware of the state's investigation, Whiting said: "It doesn't matter to me. They can do all they want. Don't call me again. No comment."
Whiting, who lives in Canal Fulton, is married and has two children.
Rumors of the lawsuit involving Whiting have swirled in the Northwest district for years but were difficult to confirm because the settlement was confidential.
"We were aware after we hired him, but we didn't find anything," said Dennis Lambes, Northwest's superintendent.
Lambes said the district plans no action pending the outcome of the state's investigation.
Northwest does criminal background checks on all employees, Lambes said.
The superintendent said Whiting has done a good job both as a teacher and in improving Northwest's football program.
"People are really pleased with what he's done and pleased with the progress of the team and success of the team," Lambes said.
J.C. Benton, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, declined to comment Friday on the state's investigation into Whiting. He said open investigations are confidential under state law.
When the Education Department finishes its investigation, it will make a recommendation to the State Board of Education. The subject of the investigation can request a hearing, Benton said.
A criminal conviction "is not required to take a teacher out of the classroom," Benton said.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or email@example.com. Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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