Order to be issued Monday on the release of records in Gina Sisk case
By MEGAN SPEES
Special to the Mt. Pleasant News
KEOKUK — The Eighth Judicial District Court will determine Monday whether the Keokuk Police Department is entitled to a protective order that would prevent the release of records regarding a sexual abuse lawsuit.
On behalf of her client “Jane Doe II,” Roxanne Conlin of Des Moines recently served a subpoena to the police department for copies of any reports related to allegations of abuse by former Keokuk teacher and coach Gina Sisk.
Lee County Attorney Mike Short, representing the state, responded with a motion for a protective order on a 2009 file pertaining to Jane Doe II’s report to police. The protective order would bar everyone – including Conlin and her client – from seeing the records.
Last week, Conlin filed a resistance to Short’s motion. Conlin said in her filing that the records can’t be kept confidential if they aren’t part of an ongoing investigation and that disclosure of the records wouldn’t harm the public interest.
“The state cites ... that nothing was done after a brief investigation,” Conlin said. “Calling the investigation ongoing after nearly five years of inactivity – merely because it could be reopened at some unknown point – is preposterous.”
Conlin offered in her resistance to hold the documents subpoenaed from the KPD under a protective order, in the event that the file is re-opened during the case.
She also requested that the hearing on Short’s motion for a protective order be held via conference call at the originally-scheduled date and time, 11:45 a.m. Monday.
If the case goes to trial, a jury would determine whether Sisk is guilty of sexual assault that allegedly occurred from 2008 to 2011.
The suit also alleges negligence on the part of the district and former Keokuk High School Principal Michelle Lukavsky. According to court documents on file at the South Lee County Courthouse, Jane Doe II and a parent told Lukavsky about their concerns and also contacted police. Jane Doe II alleges that under pressure from Sisk, Jane Doe II agreed to sign a document in Lukavsky’s office that stated she’d lied to the police and that no abuse had occurred.
Sisk was hired by the district in 2006. She taught physical education at Keokuk Middle School and coached high school girls track and middle school cross country.
After similar charges were filed in March 2012 in Henry County by “Jane Doe” against Sisk and Sisk’s previous employer, the New London School District, the Keokuk School District placed her on paid administrative leave.
She resigned in May. She was paid approximately $70,000 during her 14-month leave.
Jane Doe alleges Sisk abused her from 2000 to 2006. The New London case is under review by the Iowa Supreme Court to determine whether the time frame of the alleged abuse exceeds the statute of limitations.
Jane Doe II’s suit against Sisk, Lukavsky and the Keokuk School District was filed in February in South Lee County.
Sisk is represented by attorneys Tammy Westhoff Gentry and Alfredo Parrish of Des Moines. Lukavsky and the district are represented by New London attorney Steven Ort.