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Faith Academy using accused ex-teacher’s wife to pressure student in sex case, lawyer says


By Brendan Kirby

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    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — The wife of a Faith Academy teacher and soccer coach accused of having sex with a student showed up at a recent softball game, sitting in the front row and laughing at her, the girl’s attorney said Monday.

Attorney Greg Vaughan raised the issue at a hearing over whether the girl and her parents should be required to give up their right to sue the school as a condition for continuing to play on the softball team. Mobile County Circuit Judge Jill Phillips last week issued a temporary restraining order against the school. Presiding Circuit Judge Wesley Pipes, who is considering whether to convert that to a preliminary injunction, postponed the matter until April 20 to give the school’s lawyers time to respond to the new allegation.

Vaughan told Pipes that the wife of the now-fired teacher, Jonathan D. Sauers, attended the last softball game – despite never having been to a game before. He said an off-duty police officer also was there, another first.

“We think there was an orchestrated effort to get Ms. Sauers at this game … to institute a pressure campaign against this young lady,” he said.

The school’s attorney, Vaughan Drinkard, denied those allegations.

“This is the first time I’ve every heard of any pressure campaign,” he told the judge. “It is absurd. … It’s blind-siding us.”

Ordinarily, a temporary restraining order expires after 10 days. But both sides agreed for it to remain in place until the judge rules on whether to make it a longer-lasting preliminary injunction. Pipes ordered the school to tell its employees not to delete any email, text message or group chat that might pertain to the issue. He said he would decide at a later date whether any messages should be turned over to the plaintiffs.

Lawyers for both sides declined to comment outside the courtroom.

The student’s lawyers had witnesses lined up to testify Monday, including a counselor who was going to tell the judge how important playing on the team is to the girl.

“It’s the only place she feels normal in this world of chaos,” Vaughan said.

Drinkard told the judge that the school has arranged for the student to take classes remotely.

“We have bent over backward to try to accommodate this little girl,” he said.

The April 20 hearing will be just before Faith Academy’s next game, on April 21. The school is on spring break this week.

In a sign of how closely intertwined the case is with the criminal proceedings, Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood attended the hearing.

A judge on Thursday is set to consider a request by Sauers, 44, of Semmes, that he be allowed to live with his parents out of state until the charges are resolved.

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