OXFORD – (AP) Two alleged victims who filed separate civil lawsuits filed against former Mississippi and Alabama prep football coach Dwight Bowling have asked a federal judge to order case sent to mediation.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that the men, now adults, claim Bowling molested them when they were Smithville, Miss., students. They also claim that Monroe County School District for which Bowling worked failed to act on complaints about Bowling and is responsible for damages inflicted upon them.
This month, their attorney, Donald Medley of Hattiesburg, filed a motion to compel mediation in the lawsuits filed in 2011.
The day before, Bowling’s attorney, Goodloe Lewis of Oxford, asked the court to throw out the lawsuit against his client, claiming the statute of limitations has run out.
The Monroe County school system has denied the allegations.
Bowling pleaded guilty to federal and state charges including fondling, sexual battery, child exploitation, bribery of a witness, tampering with a witness, and enticement of a minor for sex.
He is currently in a federal prison in Petersburg, Va., serving 35 years on all charges.
Medley contends it’s reasonable to expect that the cases “may be resolved by the use of the alternative dispute resolution of mediation.” He urges that approach
to avoid the additional time and expense of a trial, one set for July and the second in 2014.
Recently, U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. dismissed three former Smithville school officials as lawsuit defendants because the three-year deadline to file passed before they were added.
Bowling was arrested Sept. 18, 2010 when he returned to his Mississippi home after coaching Sulligent High School in Alabama to a victory.
Authorities said a 13-year-old boy who was with Bowling at the time of his arrest accused him of improper touching. A federal indictment accused him of taking minor males across state lines for sex. Bowling also was accused of obstruction for trying to get a victim to lie.
A sweeping investigation uncovered at least four victims – boys between the ages of 13 and 18.
Bowling coached 28 years at Smithville High School in Monroe County, Miss., before retiring and taking a similar job at Sulligent High in Sulligent, Ala.