Settlement reached in Watervliet sexual contact civil suit

WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The City of Watervliet and the school district says they have finally reached a settlement after a former school resource officer was accused of having sexual contact with a student.

The settlement amount will likely remain a secret but we do know that both the City of Watervliet and the Watervliet School District have agreed to pay the former student who was 17 at the time.

According to Watervliet City Councilman Charles Patricelli, the city has approved a settlement between a former Watervliet High School student who filed suit against the city.

The suit alleges that former School Resource officer and Watervliet Police Officer Joshua Spratt engaged in, “the practice of grooming at least three students (including plaintiff) at the Watervliet High School, whereby he used his position of trust to build a relationship and friendship with young girls that he then lured and coerced into illegal sexual relationships.”

It also alleges that school and city employees “had actual knowledge of defendant Spratt’s behavior based upon reports and complaints from students and parents” and claims that no action was taken to stop the behavior.

The City agreed to pay $25,000 of the settlement using taxpayer dollars and insurance covered the rest.

According to the Watervliet School District’s attorney Stephen Rehfuss, the district also agreed to a settlement which he says will be paid in full by insurance and will not use any public moneys.

These federal court documents on the case say on Wednesday, during a phone conference, “parties are to place the settlement on the record.”

No one has disclosed the settlement amount and may never disclose it as the former student signed a confidentiality agreement with the district and, according to Rehfuss, the district did not admit liability.

Rehfuss says even though Spratt is listed on the lawsuit, he does not have to pay any money toward the settlement.

Spratt was sentenced to six months in jail last year after pleading guilty to inappropriate sexual contact with a different student who was 16 at the time.

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