Victim of sexual abuse by ex-Chambersburg soccer coach files federal lawsuit against assailant, school district

Jeffrey Hand

A former soccer player at Chambersburg Area High School who claims she was harassed and bullied while the school district investigated her allegation that she was being abused by former junior varsity soccer coach Jeffrey Hand is suing the school district and the now-jailed coach in federal court.

The student, identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, says school district officials treated her disdainfully and broke confidentiality, which led to her being bullied by other students. Some of the bullying was encouraged by another teacher, she claims in the lawsuit.

Hand, 37, is serving a prison term of one to five years after pleading guilty in Franklin County Court to charges of institutaional sexual assault and corruption of minors.

Jane Doe claims she was groomed by Hand for months before he began engaging in sex acts with her, when she was 17 years old. He allegedly plied her with alcohol and abused her several times, she claims in the suit.

Meanwhile, Chambersburg School District officials did not investigate or notify police, even after receiving a report from another coach about inappropriate acts between Hand and other female players, Jane Doe says in the lawsuit.

In a meeting with district officials in December 2016, Jane Doe Claims, administrators “humiliated” and “verbally attacked” her while confronting her about her alleged connection to hand.

One official called her a liar, she claims in the suit. Others questioned her sexual activity, the suit alleges.

Despite promises of confidentiality, at least one official informed the teaching staff about Jane Doe’s allegations against Hand and identified her as the victim. That led to verbal abuse from other students and damage to her vehicle, which was allegedly shot with paint balls and scratched with keys, Jane Doe claims in the lawsuit.

Jane Doe is seeking unspecified financial damages, claiming district officials violated due process of law. She also claims she is entitled to damages due to sexual harassment, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, sexual assault, and battery.

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