Teacher sues after being found not guilty in sex-with-student case
BY TERESA AUCH SCHULTZ firstname.lastname@example.org September 19, 2013 5:12PM
Benjamin Chinn. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 21, 2013 2:21PM
A former Hammond teacher and varsity basketball coach who was found not guilty earlier this summer of having sex with a student is now suing the School City of Hammond for what he calls improperly firing him.
Benjamin A. Chinn, now of Indianapolis, filed his lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hammond.
Chinn, who taught at Morton High School, was accused by a student of sexual misconduct sometime in the spring of 2012. He was charged in June 2012 with seducing a student.
The district notified him by a letter that he was suspended without pay but never mentioned any rights he had, such as the right to a hearing. The school board voted that August to not renew his contract.
Chinn claims in his lawsuit that the board mailed a notice of that vote to an address where it knew he no longer lived. He claims the board, which denied knowing he had moved to Arizona after he was fired, actually knew he had moved because they sent other mail to the correct address.
The lawsuit also claims he was later told he would receive back pay if he was found not guilty but that he has not received any money from the district.
The district’s actions have made it difficult for Chinn to find another job, according to the lawsuit.
“Chinn’s lifelong desire of coaching high school basketball has been devastated by defendants’ rash and improper actions,” the lawsuit says.
Superintendent Walter Watkins deferred comment to the district’s attorneys, who could not be reached for comment.