Judges recused from Cedar Creek bullying lawsuit over conflicts of interest: Here's why
All three 3rd District Court judges have recused themselves from the bullying lawsuit filed against Ruston's Cedar Creek School and parents of the students accused of the abuse.
The lawsuit will be referred to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which will appoint a judge to hear the case.
"It doesn't shock me," said James "Wes" Bearden, attorney for the plaintiffs. "There's only three judges, and there's one private high school in the parish. I would figure that they would have some type of connection to it."
The order, signed Oct. 7, identifies 3rd District Judges Monique B. Clement, Thomas Rogers and Bruce E. Hampton as those unable to hear the case because of conflicts of interest.
Hampton's wife Cindy Hampton is the new interim head of Cedar Creek.
Cindy Hampton was named to lead the school after former school leader Andrew Yepson's retirement was announced in the wake of the scandal that has rocked the school and community.
Yepson served as the school's lead when the parents of a former student filed a lawsuit against Cedar Creek and eight students on Sept. 15.
The plaintiffs claim their son suffered unchecked bullying and sexual battery over several months during the 2020 school year and that Cedar Creek administrators failed to effectively intervene.
Cedar Creek announced Cindy Hampton's appointment is temporary and that the school is conducting a nationwide search for a permanent head. Previously, Cindy Hampton operated as Cedar Creek's assistant principal of academics.
Clement recused herself both because her colleague's wife is employed by Cedar Creek and because of the "personal relationship" her daughter has with the minors involved in the lawsuit.
Rogers also recused himself because of his "close personal and business relationship" with a family named as a defendant in the case.
"We just want a fair shake," Bearden said. "We're OK with that. If they felt a need to recuse, that's fine."
J.P. Christiansen, attorney for the defense, had no comment.
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