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Former student files lawsuit against Matthew Priebe

Posted at 1:37 PM, Nov 21, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — A former student has filed a lawsuit against Matthew Priebe, the city of Lansing, Lansing Public Schools, the District Board of Education and more.

According to court documents, the suit is being filed based on "arises from defendants' deliberately indifferent response to employee-on-student sexual harassment on school premises and subsequent sex-based harassment."

According to court documents, the plaintiff, a female, attended Eastern High School from the fall of 2013 through the spring of 2017.

Court documents state the plaintiff met Priebe, a school resource officer at Eastern, in Sept. 2015. The plaintiff was 16 years old.

Court documents state the plaintiff and Priebe began to know get to know each other during the fall of 2015.

Priebe shared personal information with the student about parts of his life like where he grew up and why he wanted to become a police officer and family members, according to the court documents.

Court documents state the Priebe began sharing photographs of violent suicide scenes, including a picture of a man who hung himself, as well as a photograph of a man who shot himself in the head.

Court documents said the plaintiff recognized the photograph of the man who shot himself in the head and told Priebe that was her friend's uncle.

Court documents said Priebe told the plaintiff not to tell anyone what he showed her because it was "confidential."

Court documents state as the two continued to get to know each other, Priebe asked the plaintiff questions about her parents. He found out from the plaintiff that her father was from Mexico and looked up his criminal record online.

After this, court documents state that the plaintiff "became afraid that Priebe would negatively impact her parents' immigration statuses."

Priebe told the plaintiff that "they were becoming 'very close' and told her they were becoming best friends and building trust in one another," according to court documents.

Court documents state that the plaintiff was uncomfortable with these statements due to the fact that she had confided in Priebe because he was an authority figure, not because he was her friend.

Court documents state Priebe used this information "to threaten and intimidate (the plaintiff) into submitting to his sexual demands."

A couple of days after the conversation about the plaintiff's parents, the plaintiff was in the security office with Priebe where he "leaned over and stuck his finger in the ripped holes of her pants, right in the center of her thigh," according to court documents.

Court documents say Priebe told the plaintiff they were "close now" and said "it's okay for you to trust me now and not be shy."

Court documents said the plaintiff felt that Priebe was implying that he knew about her parents' immigration statuses and "felt scared because she did not want Priebe to negatively impact her family's immigration status."

In November of 2015, Priebe took the plaintiff on a "ride along" with him to a court hearing in downtown Lansing, and asked for the plaintiff's phone number in December of 2015, according to court documents.

Court documents state Priebe would ask the plaintiff personal questions through text message like what she was doing, what her favorite food was and where she lived.

In one instance, court documents show Priebe sent photographs of his hotel room to the plaintiff and told her there was "room for two."

Communication continued between the two and court documents detail that the plaintiff felt "obligated to respond when Priebe sent her text messages."

A couple of months later in January of 2016, Priebe went to the plaintiff's house and asked her mother to sign a waiver allowing her to patrol the city of Lansing with him.

Court documents say Priebe took the plaintiff in his patrol car to a location on the Lansing River Trail under a bridge at Cedar Street and Kalamazoo Street, but was not working as a resource officer at the time nor was he on regular shift.

Court documents say "while the car was stopped, Priebe leaned in to try to kiss" the plaintiff.

Court documents say Priebe told the plaintiff to "get comfortable" with him and the she "didn't need to be shy."

Court documents say Priebe continued rubbing the plaintiffs thigh with his right hand and "then took her right hand with his left hand and placed it on his erect penis."

The plaintiff began distancing herself from Priebe in Feb. 2016, according to court documents.

As time continued on, court documents state Priebe told the plaintiff about his past sexual experiences and talk about having sex with the plaintiff.

In one instance, court documents state that Priebe told the plaintiff "if they did have sex, they did not need to use a condom because he had had a vasectomy."

The plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $25,000 and has undergone mental and emotional distress, according to court documents.

Priebe was sentenced to less than a year in jail back in October, and five years probation.

He also cannot have contact with anyone under the age of 17 unless they are family and must register as a sex offender.

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