A Rowan County, KY. teacher and coach who is accused of an inappropriate sexual misconduct with a female student and was placed on administrative leave, is now facing a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a Rowan County high school athlete who says she was the victim of sexual abuse by a coach.
According to the lawsuit, Andrew Zaheri, 39, of Morehead, KY., was a teacher at Rowan County High School, and was also an assistant basketball coach.
Andrew Zaheri was arrested on February 15, 2023; and he was initially charged with
- 3RD DEGREE RAPE (5 SEPARATE CHARGES COUNTS); and he was released on a $25,000 cash bond the following day.
After his arrest, Andrew Zaheri was put on administrative leave, and that the investigation was being handled by Detective David Zimmerman, of the Kentucky State Police, Post 8, in Morehead.
According to the KSP arrest citation, the 39-year-old Andrew Zaheri is accused of having an ongoing sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student.
But according to the lawsuit, beginning when she was 14 years old, Jane Doe endured repeated acts of grooming, sexual abuse, molestation, and harassment by her high school teacher and coach, Andrew Zaheri; and that he continued to sexually abuse her until she was nearly 18.
At the preliminary hearing for Andrew Zaheri in Rowan County District Court on February 27, KSP Detective David Zimmerman with the Kentucky State Police is investigating the case, and was questioned during the hearing. Detective Zimmeran said the victim’s laptop, along with Andrew Zaheri’s cell phone and ChromeBook, had been seized as evidence. Detective Zimmerman says he believes other charges are pending, including use of a minor in a sexual performance.
A LOOK OF SHOCK & DEEP DESPAIR: ANDREW ZAHERI, WITH HIS ATTORNEY, MICHAEL CAMPBELL, IN ROWAN DISTRICT COURT ON FEBRUARY 27 2023.
The hearing concluded with Rowan County Chief District Judge Don Blair stating the court found probable cause to send the matter to a grand jury.
Andrew Zaheri was indicted in early May on more than 23 felony counts for his sexual relationship with the student. Those charges include multiple counts of rape, sodomy and promoting a sexual performance of a minor.
Jane Doe is being represented by Jonathan Hollan and Sam Aguiar in Louisville and Matthew Miner and Jonathan Fannin of Minner Vines Moncus Injury Lawyers in Morehead.
The lawsuit also names Rowan County High School Principal Jordan Mann, and Rowan County superintendent John Maxey as defendants, with the lawsuit saying that they disregarded reports about Andrew Zaheri.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and also punitive damages.
Attorneys representing Jane Doe gave scathing condemnation statements about the failure by the leadership of the Rowan County School system
“They protected a sexual predator over a child. As a parent, as a person, it’s disappointment. It’s betrayal,” said one of Jane Doe’s attorneys, Jon Hollan.
“It’s about holding the administrators in Rowan County accountable for ignoring alarming report after alarming report. In fact, they spent more time grading Zaheri 18 out of 22 points ‘Excellent!’ as a teacher than they did investigating the abuse of this young girl,” said another of one of Jane Doe’s attorneys, Jonathan Fanning.
“All the records that have been produced thus far make it clear both the Superintendent and the Principal were aware of each and every one of these allegations for several months before all for this came to light unfortunately in February of this year with Zaheri’s arrest,” said Jon Hollan.
Both Jon Hollan and Jonathan Fanning allege principal Jordan Mann and superintendent John Maxey had received the same and repeated reports about the questionable behavior. The suit alleges Zaheri was the only one ever questioned, and Jane Doe’s parents were never notified.
When asked for any statements, superintendent John Maxey says the school district does not comment on pending litigation.
LAWSUIT ALLEGES PRIOR HISTORY OF ANDREW ZAHERI INVOLVING FEMALE STUDENTS
Andrew Zaheri, the lawsuit alleges, had a prior history of targeting female students at Rowan County High School.
Andrew Zaheri served as an assistant basketball coach for Rowan County High School from 2007 to 2011.
During that time period he allegedly was in a relationship with a student. “Shortly after she graduated and while still a teenager, she became pregnant with Andrew Zaheri’s child,” the lawsuit alleges.
Yet, no one at the school district questioned Zaheri to determine when the relationship with the other female student began, the lawsuit alleges.
Andrew Zaheri resigned from Rowan County in 2011, the lawsuit says; and that he then took a position with Danville schools, where he stayed until 2013. Andrew Zaheri returned to Rowan County as an assistant coach on the boy’s basketball team in 2013. Jordan Mann, the principal, was also a coach on the team, the lawsuit said.
Andrew Zaheri became a full-time teacher in 2020. In addition to coaching boys basketball he was also an assistant girl’s soccer coach, the lawsuit said.
GROOMING BEHAVIOR ALLEGED BY ANDREW ZAHERI
Andrew Zaheri began noticing Jane Doe in 2019 when she was 14 and a freshman. Doe played on the soccer team when Zaheri was a soccer coach. He allegedly asked her personal questions about whom she was dating and had a key to her room at an out-of-town tournament. He would repeatedly volunteer to give her leg massages when her legs started to cramp. Later he told her he became sexually aroused while performing the massage.
The lawsuit alleges Andrew Zaheri used campus software to look up her home address and drove by her home on Christmas morning in 2019. Andrew Zaheri later told the student about the Christmas morning trip.
He later got the teen’s cell phone number under the guise of a school fundraiser, the lawsuit alleges. He would repeatedly text her and eventually convinced her to become his teaching assistant. He also bought her presents and clothes, the lawsuit alleges.
Andrew Zaheri then sexually assaulted Jane Doe on and off school property, the lawsuit alleges.
“On several occasions, Zaheri requested for colleagues and supervisors to cover his classroom so that he could sexually abuse Jane Doe during school hours,” the lawsuit said.
Andrew Zaheri also sent videos and photos to Jane Doe of himself masturbating, court documents said.
REPEATED QUESTIONS ABOUT ANDREW ZAHERI
Andrew Zaheri’s relationship with Jane Doe did not go unnoticed by students or members of the community, according to the lawsuit.
In September 2022, multiple people reported to Robert Ginter, the director of student services, their concerns about the nature of the relationship between the coach and the teen. The two had been seen at Wal-Mart together on various occasions and after school hours.
The lawsuit said Ginter forwarded the concerns to Mann, the principal. Mann spoke to Zaheri and accepted Zaheri’s explanation that it was a coincidence the two were at Wal-Mart at the same time and brushed off other concerns about the amount of time he was spending with Jane Doe.
Mann did not contact Jane Doe or her parents. Mann forwarded the concerns to Maxey, the superintendent.
According to the lawsuit, it appears no further action or follow-up was done.
In November 2022, Zaheri and Jane Doe were spotted at Wal-Mart again. Zaheri denied he was there. Mann forwarded the complaint to Maxey but no further investigation was conducted, according to the documents
Then again in November 2022, Jane Doe was sighted wearing Zaheri’s clothes in public. The lawsuit alleges multiple people reported the sighting and concerns about the relationship between the female student and Zaheri to school administrators.
It wasn’t until late December 2022 that Mann documented the phone calls from community members who had called about the student wearing Zaheri’s clothes. Jane Doe was not interviewed. Zaheri denied giving the teen his clothes, according to the lawsuit.
BREAKING IT OFF
In January, the teen told Andrew Zaheri she did not want to be in a relationship with him and to please stop contacting her.
On February 13, principal Mann and superintendent Maxey were again contacted about Zaheri’s relationship with the student, the lawsuit states.
On February 14, a Rowan County High School school counselor, who also received the report, forwarded the allegations to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which resulted in an investigation that eventually resulted in Zaheri’s arrest.
Andrew Zaheri was eventually fired from his position.
Cameron R. Fultz, 24, of Morehead, KY., was arrested on Friday, May 19, and was charged with:
*RAPE, 3RD DEGREE.
The arrest was connected to an investigation that was launched after a 14-year-old female was reported missing from neighboring Carter County.
Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks received a tip that the minor who was reported missing on Tuesday was with Cameron Fultz.
According to court documents, the juvenile reported to a Kentucky State Trooper from KSP Post 8 in Morehead that she met with Fultz after she snuck out of her grandmother’s house in Carter County.
Cameron Fultz was taken to and booked & lodged in the Rowan County Detention Center in Morehead, where he has since been released after posting his bond.