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  • Writer's pictureLauren Driver

Caddo Hills Principal Named in Lawsuit

Reannon Gregory, a former student at Caddo Hills High School, has filed a civil lawsuit against the principal, James Todd Baxley, alleging sexual abuse that took place when she was in her 9th grade year.


The lawsuit alleges that the former principal, Todd Baxley, sexually abused Gregory beginning in November of 2017. Briefly mentioned in the lawsuit is Baxley’s tenure as a Mineral Springs School teacher, where he allegedly molested a student.  While at Caddo Hills, Baxley also had inappropriate interactions with three students other than the plaintiff. After leaving Caddo Hills, Baxley went to Fountain Lake School District, where he allegedly had inappropriate contact with two students. His teaching license was revoked after the incidents at Fountain Lake.



Todd Baxley when Caddo Hills hired him on Photo courtesy of SW Arkansas News


Six counts are being brought against Todd Baxley: negligence, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, battery, outrage, loss of consortium, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.


The board members of the Caddo Hills School District are listed for negligence, failure to protect from third party harm, and harassment.


The superintendent, Deric Owens, has been named for harassment. After being notified of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office of the allegations brought against Baxley, Owens called Gregory’s mother to discuss the investigation. Owens and the District took no action to shield her from further contact with Baxley.


Linda Gaston was the superintendent’s secretary and allegedly told Gregory, “maybe she took it the wrong way,” when she was first informed of the inappropriate contact within two weeks of the first incident.


Rhonda Allen, who was Baxley’s secretary at the time, has been listed for negligence.


Rhonda Tannehill, the school counselor contracted through Ouachita Behavioral Health and Wellness at the time, has been named for negligence. The plaintiff alleged Tannehill was informed within days of the first inappropriate contact to which Tannehill responded, “stop right there. He is a good man.”


Stacy Watson was the school resource officer and is named battery when she allegedly handcuffed the plaintiff to a chair in Baxley’s office.


On March 26, 2018, counselor Tracy Rogers was informed of the abuse and reported it to the Arkansas Police Crimes Against Children Division, which prompted an investigation.


Gregory was forced to be in the presence of her alleged abuser until the following school year when she transferred schools.

 


According to SafeHome.org, Arkansas has 606 registered sex offenders per 100,000 residents which is the nation’s second highest-rate of registered sex offenders. Arkansas had the highest rate of child sex abuse reported in 2021, with a rate of 253 per 100,000 children, which is more than three times the overall national rate.


I reached out to Superintendent Deric Owens and he responded, “I have no comment at this time since we are under litigation with the matter. My attorney is Bequette Billingsley and Kee law firm.”

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