SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Four days after a former Springdale schools student amended her sexual assault lawsuit, one of the defendants filed a response and continued to deny the allegations.
Alissa Cawood filed the lawsuit in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court in Fayetteville on November 1, 2022, specifically stating that it arises from “sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the deprivation of bodily integrity suffered by a young student at the hands of the Defendants.” She submitted an amended complaint to the court on January 12.
One of the defendants, former Springdale vice principal Mark Oesterle, submitted an answer to the amended complaint on January 16. As he did following the original filing, Oesterle denied most charges while citing others as not requiring answers or said he did not have enough knowledge to comment.
He added additional affirmative defenses that addressed some of the allegations in the lawsuit. Among those were the following:
- “Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and her claims should be dismissed.”
- “Plaintiff’s claims fail for lack of causation. There is no causal relation between the acts of Defendant and any injury or damage to Plaintiff.”
- “Injuries or damages sustained by Plaintiff, if any, were caused by the carelessness, negligence, and/or fault of third parties over whom this Defendant had no control.”
- “Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint is barred by the statute of limitations and/or statute of repose.”
- “Defendant denies that he is guilty of any conduct that warrants the issue of punitive damages being submitted to a jury or allows Plaintiff to recover punitive damages.”
In addition to judgment in his favor, Oesterle also requested costs and attorneys’ fees and “further relief as this Court deems just and proper.”
Cawood’s amended filing contained 24 pages detailing the factual allegations, the parties, the jurisdiction and the venue of the filing. It included details about Oesterle’s “predatory behavior,” including allegedly groping the plaintiff “on at least 30 separate occasions.”
It noted that “Oesterle would eventually plead guilty to groping Alissa for sexual gratification during his employment.” In 2021, Oesterle pleaded guilty to one charge after sexually assaulting two minor teen girls.
He was sentenced to six years probation, fined $1,000 and ordered to register as a Level 3 Sex Offender. On March 3, 2022, Springdale Police arrested him for knowingly going to a pair of Springdale public school campuses in February, which is a Class D Felony due to his Sex Offender status.
Cawood seeks damages for multiple reasons, including emotional suffering, mental anguish, humiliation and loss of self-worth, medical expenses, loss of educational benefits and loss of employment opportunities. The filing requested a jury trial.