Student accuses Pine Bluff High School Principal of sexual harassment

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PINE BLUFF, Ark. — A former Pine Bluff High School student filed a lawsuit against the Principal sexually harassed him.

It’s the latest claim to be filed against Dr. Michael Nellums and the fourth lawsuit against him.

According to the lawsuit, the now 19-year-old says the abuse started when he got in trouble over a fight and was sent to Nellum’s office. The suit says during that meeting Nellums “started rubbing [the teen’s] back” and “at the same time Nellums held his own genitals.”

The lawsuit goes on to say for weeks Nellums conintially hinted the teen could avoid punishment if he performed sexual favors.

Nellums denies any wrongdoing and filed a counter suit for defamation.

This isn’t the first time questions about Nellum’s behavior have come up.

FOX 16 pulled school records and found three complaints against Nellums.

The first was four years ago when a teacher sued Nellums for sexual harassment. The Pine Bluff School District settled with her for $50,000.

Two years later a former high school principal claimed Nellums falsely accused him of changing grades. The district also settled with him for $80,000.

Then this year a former secretary accused Nellums of sexually harassment.

After the first complain Nellums was removed as High School Principal but within a year he was back in the position.

When asked about Nellums, a former school board member sent FOX 16 this statement:

“Administration past and current were warned about the behavior of the Pine Bluff High School Principal. The former school board made a bad decision by placing Nellums back at the high school after he requested not to be there in the same calendar year.”

Former School Board Member

Nellums lawyers say they’ll continue to fight all of these allegations.

Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Owoh declined an interview and sent FOX 16 this statement:

“The District is aware of the lawsuit filed against Dr. Nellums and the District, which was the first time the District administrative team ever received any notice of the allegations contained in the lawsuit. The District is taking prompt remedial measures to address the issues raised in the lawsuit. Dr. Nellums has been placed on administrative leave pending the ongoing investigation. As this matter is both a personnel issue and involves student privacy rights, the District cannot give further comment.”

Dr. Jeremy Owoh, Pine Bluff School District Superintendent

Attorney Lucien Gillham who is representing the teen and former secretary in their lawsuits, also declined an interview saying they can’t since Nellums has filed defamation suits against his clients. Gillham went on to say Nellum’s defamation claims “have no merit, and we believe they will ultimately be dismissed.”

The attorney represent Nellums also declined an interview request.

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