Student-Teacher Sex Lawsuit Allowed Judge Refuses To Dismiss Woman’s Case Against Steve Milionis
The Wallace School District asked a judge Thursday to throw out a lawsuit accusing it of ignoring rumors of an improper relationship between a teacher and student.
First District Judge Gary Haman refused.
The case of Dody Stewart vs. Steve Milionis, the Wallace School District and the Grangeville School District will go to court, Haman ruled, upholding an initial ruling earlier this year.
“I’m going to stand where I stood,” he said.
Stewart has accused Milionis, a former Wallace special education teacher, of initiating a sexual relationship with her when she was a 14-year-old student at Silver Hills Middle School.
Stewart now lives in Montana and Milionis is a Coeur d’Alene High School counselor.
In 1994, eight years after the alleged relationship began and a year after it ended, Stewart filed suit.
Wallace School District tried to have the case dismissed six months ago, arguing that Stewart had waited too long to file her tort claim and lawsuit.
Stewart’s attorneys successfully argued that Stewart could not file her claim earlier because she didn’t recognize she had been injured until she tried to have another relationship.
In January, Haman released an opinion saying that a teacher could abuse a student and, at the same time, cause the student to believe the “sexual acts are normal or necessary to the relationship.”
If a child does not realize she is being abused, the statute of limitations can be extended, he ruled.
Sue Servick, attorney for the Wallace School District, asked Haman to reconsider his decision because of a recent ruling by the Idaho Supreme Court.
In Russell Bonner and Martin Bonner vs. Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, two men claimed they were sexually abused as children by a Catholic priest. They didn’t file a lawsuit against the church until 22 years later when they claimed to have remembered the alleged abuse.
The state Supreme Court threw out the case, saying the claims came after the statute of limitations had expired.
John Magnuson argued that the cases were too different to draw parallels.
Haman said it is hard to predict how the higher court will rule on any case that involves the statute of limitations.
“It appears it is a very slippery thing,” he said.
The case is scheduled to go to trial in August 1997.