By PATSY R. BRUMFIELD/Daily Journal
All sides apparently agree to settle two lawsuits alleging sexual advances on two minor males by former Smithville coach Dwight Bowling.
The lawsuits were filed in 2012 by now-adults, who claimed unwanted contact by Bowling over several years with the tacit knowledge of Monroe County School officials.
School officials denied they knew anything about Bowling’s behavior and said they were not responsible.
Settlement details are confidential, including how much money will be paid to settle the issues.
The payment likely will come from the district’s insurance carriers.
Despite the secrecy, the father of one of the plaintiffs said the settlement “was the best available outcome” because of concerns they might never get into a courtroom for trial.
Multiple current and former school officials were dismissed as defendants a few months ago, and issues were pending before Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. as to whether too much time had passed for filing the lawsuit.
When the first lawsuit was filed in early 2012, the man’s father, whose name is not used because it identifies his son, said he hoped to take the issues to trial to shed light on responsibility in the alleged sexual abuse.
But Friday, he said he wanted to go to trial “only if it would have made a difference” to help others avoid actions similar to what happened to his son.
Luke Benedict, an attorney for the Monroe County School Board, said Friday that the district “can confirm that two lawsuits filed against it and other defendants, related to Dwight Bowling, have been resolved. We are not in a position to comment further at this time.”
As of late Friday, no court order was posted about the settlement although one is anticipated soon.
Amanda Povall Tailyour, who represented Bowling, could not be reached for comment.
Bowling, 58, continues to serve a lengthy federal sentence and then faces state time for a multi-count conviction in Monroe and Itawamba counties.
He pleaded guilty to transporting minors across state lines for sex, as well as to witness tampering. The state charges claimed fondling and sexual battery of multiple minor males.
Bowling was one of Mississippi’s most successful high school football coaches and retired from Smithville to coach in Sulligent, Ala., when he was arrested in 2010.