HOWARD COUNTY, Mo. — An attorney representing the Glasgow School District told KMZU News Monday that last Friday Howard County Frank Flaspohler was served a summons for a suit filed by the district involving the coroner’s investigation over the December 2016 suicide of Glasgow teen Kenneth Suttner. KMZU’s Brian Lock caught up with Missouri Board of Schools attorney Tom Mickes, who represents the district and filed the suit on its behalf late last week. Click below to hear their full, edited interview.
Suttner took his own life last winter after years of alleged bullying by the manager at the Dairy Queen he was employed at, Harley Brandham, and bullying he allegedly suffered while at school.
Flaspohler said in a statement in February that the school was negligent in preventing bullying, which he alleged was a direct cause of Kenny’s premature death, and that the school was not compliant with his investigation when it was undertaken.
The school fired back in quick measure, though, saying in a statement that the allegations made by Flaspohler were “a total fabrication.” Flaspohler denied these claims to the Associated Press last month.
Attorney Tom Mickes explained that the suit was filed because the District was not ever provided with the materials Flaspohler said he would provide, despite repeated attempts by attorneys to obtain the disputed documents from the Howard County Coroner’s Office.
Mickes told KMZU News that the suit filed against Flaspohler “seeks a copy of the transcript of the public hearing and the evidence to that hearing. It was a public hearing, the public and media were invited, and many stories were written about it following the hearing.”
“I initially asked the coroner at the end of the hearing for a copy of [the transcript] and was told I would get it the next day, which seemed pretty quick,” Mickes said. “I never got it.”
Mickes alleges that attorneys contacted Falspohler’s office in an e-mail and were told that there would be charges per-page for the information, “in the neighborhood of $40 or $50,” Mickes added, which he said the district was “happy” to pay.
“Shortly thereafter, we received another e-mail saying [the transcript] would not be provided because it was part of an ongoing criminal investigation,” Mickes explained.
“[The suit] only seeks what was testified to in the public hearing and the exhibits that were shown to the jury during that public hearing,” Mickes told KMZU’s Brian Lock. “Which, clearly, we are entitled to.”
Mickes says the district is seeking $5,000.00 in damages from Flaspohler for what he called an “intentional violation of sunshine laws.”
The suit will be dropped and the Coroner will not have to pay any restitution to the district, if he were found guilty, as long as Flaspohler is forthcoming with the transcript from the hearing.
“It looks to me like, you know, they’re [the Howard County Coroner’s office] covering it up,” Mickes alleged relating to the transcript of the public hearing. “It looks like they don’t want the public to know what was said in the hearing.”
“This was a last resort. It was not something the board wanted to do,” Mickes explained. “It was public hearing. Everybody was invited to hear it and now that transcript should be made available to the district.”
KMZU reached out to the Howard County Coroner’s office for a comment but had not received a response before this story was written. Refresh this page for updates.