Parents Of Former Duxbury Middle Student Sue District Over Alleged Rape

DUXBURY, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The parents of a former Duxbury Middle School student are suing the school district, saying Duxbury Public Schools failed to protect their son from alleged sexual abuse.

The lawsuit accuses Duxbury gym teacher John Blake of isolating, then inappropriately touching and later raping Joseph Parker Foley over the course of time.

Parker Foley died last fall of a drug overdose. Foley's parents said in the lawsuit that Parker used drugs regularly after the alleged rape to "escape the mental pain and anguish that followed."

The lawsuit describes a system in which Blake would decide on a whim whether boys in his gym class were "appropriately dressed," and could tell them not to attend gym class. It says Blake used his position of power to allegedly abuse Foley.

Duxbury Public Schools are named as a secondary defendant in the suit, with the Foley's attorneys arguing the school district did not do its duty to protect Parker.

The complaint says the abuse only stopped when Foley brought a knife to school and threatened to kill Blake if he ever touched him again. Parker told his parents about the alleged abuse around two years ago, but told them not to report it for his mental health, according to the suit. His father, Joseph Foley, submitted an anonymous complaint to the school, but the lawsuit says Blake continued on at the school without disciplinary action.

Duxbury Public Schools responded to the lawsuit in a press release today. The district said the allegations, which they said happened in 2006, are disturbing — but that "It is absolutely untrue that the District failed to take reasonable steps and/or implement reasonable safeguards to avoid such acts from occurring in our schools."

The district said Blake was placed on leave in 2018 and investigated, but that the investigation came up short. Blake then apparently returned to his coaching and teaching positions until November 2020, when the district said it was notified of Parker Foley's name and details. Duxbury Schools said the 2020 investigation could not come up with enough evidence to criminally charge Blake, but that there was now enough evidence to begin to fire him.

As of now, Blake has "been on leave from the school district since November pending the completion of a comprehensive external investigation and termination proceedings."

Duxbury Police released their own statement Tuesday, saying that they had followed up with the investigation in November and determined that no charges could be brought because Parker Foley, the alleged victim, was dead.

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Written by Chaiel Schaffel

(Photo: Getty Images)

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