For one Atlantic, Iowa, girl, the last two years have been marked by mood swings and sleepless nights, by trips to Omaha for counseling at least once a week.
That is the fallout from being one of at least four female students strip-searched by a high school guidance counselor looking for money believed stolen, the girl's father said.
"I think it bothered her quite a bit," said the man, whose name is being withheld to preserve his daughter's anonymity.
His daughter is now a senior in high school, looking forward to college and a possible career in health care. "She's tried to put all this behind her," he said. "I guess she's doing pretty well."
Her family and the families of two of the other girls recently settled a lawsuit stemming from the Aug. 21, 2009, incident, according to court records showing the suit was dismissed this week.
The plaintiffs — three of the searched girls — alleged in the suit that then-Atlantic High School assistant principal and athletic director Paul Croghan had ordered guidance counselor Heather Turpin to search five female students after another student reported $100 missing.
Court documents indicate Turpin had at least four of the girls individually strip to varying degrees in a locker room while Croghan waited in an adjacent room. No money was found.
Croghan resigned in November 2009. He is now the principal and athletic director of East Mills High School in Malvern. He declined to comment when reached there Friday.
The families filed suit against Croghan, Turpin and the district in 2010, though they later dismissed Turpin from the suit. She remains a guidance counselor at the school, according to the Atlantic school district's website.
The families alleged in the lawsuit that the girls' state and federal rights against unreasonable searches had been violated. They also alleged, among other things, violations of an Iowa law specifically prohibiting strip-searching students.
Court documents indicate that earlier this year the defendants conceded that the district was liable for invading the girls' privacy and for violating the state school strip-search law.
The terms of the settlement were not immediately available.
Neither the superintendent nor members of the school board who were reached would comment specifically about the suit.
"At this point, I've been advised by my board attorney that any calls that we get referring to the settlement be referred to him," said Michael Amstein, Atlantic superintendent,
The school's attorney, Gregory Barntsen of Council Bluffs, said Friday he was bound by a confidentiality agreement, but said the school district may issue a press release to its local newspaper.
Council Bluffs attorney Ed Noethe, who represents two of the plaintiffs, said his clients are not allowed to publicly discuss the terms of the settlement.
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