OKLAHOMA SUPREME COURT DECIDES NOT TO ACT IN KINGFISHER ABUSE CASE
News 9 - October 24, 2023 7:24 pm
Justin Mecklenburg, the father of an alleged victim and accuser, is charged with misdemeanor failure to report abuse. Court documents state that Mecklenburg was notified of alleged physical and sexual abuse his son, Mason, suffered in the locker room as a freshman, but didn’t notify law enforcement for a full year. Mecklenburg had pictures of his son’s bruised back, along with audio recordings of alleged admittance to the abuse, but did not turn it over to law enforcement.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has decided not to act in a case that alleges years of abuse and cover-ups in Kingfisher Public Schools. The lawsuit named the Oklahoma State Department of Education and Ryan Walters along with local administration.
The lawsuit asked that the Oklahoma Supreme Court assume jurisdiction and take action to remove Myers, the coach who allegedly abused players, from his coaching and teaching positions. Since the lawsuit was filed, Myers has been removed by the district, and criminal charges were filed against him.
Since Myers has already been removed and charged with felony child neglect, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled they would not assume jurisdiction.
The attorney for the plaintiffs released the following statement:
“We appreciate the Supreme Court taking a long hard look at this issue. The fact that the Court had a two-hour hearing demonstrates the serious consideration the Court gave to this difficult situation. Justin and Lyndy Mecklenburg were asking for a very specific thing: to force the KPS school board to simply begin the administrative process to determine whether Coach Myers should be allowed to continue as a coach. After we argued our case—and while it was being considered— Jeff Myers was charged with felony child neglect. When that happened, KPS did more than just start the administrative process we asked for. Indeed, it placed Myers on indefinite leave and removed him from the classroom and the field. Once that happened, there wasn’t much left for the Supreme Court to do.”
Superintendent Ryan Walters also released a statement:
“Naming OSDE and me as defendants was nothing but a PR stunt from the leftist trial lawyers in this case,” said Superintendent Walters. “There is an ongoing investigation into the allegations at the core of this litigation, and nothing is more important than the safety and security of our students.”
The lawsuit that alleged years of abuse and cover-ups from the current Kingfisher Football Coach was heard in the Oklahoma Supreme Court. State Superintendent Ryan Walters and the Department of Education were named in the suit as well.
The three sides laid out their arguments in front of an Oklahoma Supreme Court referee.
“Well, everyone presented their position, that’s what this kind of proceeding is all about,” said Joe White, Myers attorney.
The parents of the alleged victim, Mason Mecklenburg, were asking the court to assume jurisdiction and force the local or state board of education to take action to reprimand Myers.
Mecklenburg’s attorney, Nathan Hall, spoke about almost two decades of alleged abuse and cover-ups at the hands of current Kingfisher football coach, Jeff Myers, saying that coaches and administration at Kingfisher knew about many of the instances and did nothing about them.
“We have a well-documented record that multiple students have been subjected to bullying, hazing, abuse and sexual assault, boys in the lockeroom at Kingfisher Public Schools, yet Kingfisher refuses to do anything about it,” said Nathan Hall, the Mecklenburg’s attorney. “The law is pretty clear that when you have evidence of abuse in schools that school districts are required to take disciplinary action and the reason for that is clear- it’s to protect our kids.”
The lawsuit claimed the Mecklenburg’s first brought forward claims involving the alleged abuse of their son in 2021—however, they’re asserting that district and state officials failed to take needed action.
Court documents allege that for almost two decades, the Kingfisher football program has condoned bullying, hazing, violence, and child abuse.
These documents also named State Superintendent Ryan Walters for the first time.
One filing is almost 400 pages, and includes testimony from parents and former students, depositions, evidence and more, alleging abuse and cover up at the hands of Kingfisher football coach, Jeff Myers.
The lawsuit goes on to request the supreme court direct the local and state superintendent -“to take necessary action to terminate Jeff Myers.” The filing says, “Myers is such a danger, this court should force these officials to do something about it.”
The attorney for Jeff Myers, Joe White, called this hearing frivolous saying it should be handled at the local level and should have never been brought up to the State Supreme Court.
White called the hearing a “ploy for media coverage meant to taint the jury pool.” White was referring to the future jury pool in the case between Mason Mecklenburg and Jeff Myers, which has not gone to court yet.
White also said the Mecklenburg’s had no grounds to sue, because their son Mason had graduated from Kingfisher, and was attending OSU. The Mecklenburg’s have a son currently attending Kingfisher, but he is not part of the football program.
White accused Lyndy Mecklenburg of “enhancing” photos that show her son’s bruised back, from the alleged abuse Mason endured. He went on to call the alleged abuse “salacious and inaccurate events the Mecklenburg son went through.”
Myers was invited to speak during the hearing but did not attend.
State Superintendent Ryan Walters and the State Board of Education are also named in this lawsuit. Walters was invited to speak at Tuesday’s hearing but also didn’t show.
His counsel claimed Walters and OSDE were caught in the middle of something that should be handled on the local level. His presentation to the supreme court referee was very short compared to the other two attorneys, and relayed that he didn’t believe Walters or OSDE should have any part.
“The school board won’t do anything, Ryan Walters won’t do anything, so we went to the one place where we actually think the law can be enforced and that’s the Oklahoma Supreme Court,” said Hall.
Hall pointed out in the hearing Walters has publicly criticized multiple teachers since taking office, including a Western Heights principal who does drag outside of school.
But when it comes to the alleged Kingfisher incidents, Hall says Walters has not communicated with them.
“It seems like Secretary Walters is concerned with things like what an individual does exercising their first amendment rights outside of school. He’s more concerned of that than actual sexual assault that we have documented inside a school at Kingfisher,” said Hall.
Hall says they have been trying to work with OSDE for at least two years, under Joy Hoffmeister and Ryan Walters control, and neither have taken action.
“It’s been nearly two years since we sent a letter to the State Department of Education asking them to do something and they haven’t done anything either,” said Hall.
We have reached out to OSDE communications numerous times over the past few months as we have followed the case and have not received a response.
“Based on the state board’s response I think it’s very clear that it’s going to take a decision from the Oklahoma Supreme Court to force somebody to actually take action,” said Hall.