By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – A second lawsuit moves to federal court accusing sexual improprieties against former Smithville coach Dwight Bowling.
This lawsuit, filed Monday by a Smithville High School graduate and his parent, also accuses the Monroe County School District and three present or former personnel of knowing about and ignoring or covering up Bowling’s alleged sexual misconduct against the man when he was a child.
Bowling, 57, is serving a 25-year prison term associated with his federal guilty plea that he transported minor males across state lines for sex and tried to tamper with a witness. He also faces state prison time, when and if he completes the federal sentence.
The new lawsuit, originally filed in Monroe County, claims that as a teacher and coach, Bowling “coerced” the boy to engage in sexual activity at school, at Bowling’s home and other times.
It also accuses William “Bo” Stevens, John Chrestman and Billy “Bubba” Tacker in their official and individual capacities of hearing complaints about Bowling and failing to act.
Stevens was Smithville principal, Chrestman was assistant principal, and Tacker is a coach and now assistant principal. Chrestman died recently.
The school district, through its attorneys, denies the allegations and insists it was not informed about any improper behavior by Bowling during the time in question. The district also says it is protected against such lawsuits as a governmental agency and that it’s not liable for what Bowling did outside the course of his employment.
The lawsuit also claims that even after Bowling retired from coaching in Smithville, he was permitted to use the school’s facilities.
Bowling worked for the Smithville school from 1977 through 2006.
In 2010, state and local law enforcement arrested him on sexual battery and fondling charges. Not long after, he was federally indicted.
A 2011 federal lawsuit brought by a now-adult man claims Bowling sexually abused him when he was a minor.
Donald W. Medley of Hattiesburg is attorney for both alleged victims. Both lawsuits are filed in the Northern District of Mississippi.
They allege that various parents or groups met with school officials to complain about Bowling but saw no action taken.
They also claim Bowling engaged in a pattern of sexual abuse of Smithville students “with the full and open knowledge of school officials” and others.