Finalist for Douglas County Schools superintendent named in federal lawsuit

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- As the Douglas County School District searches for a new superintendent, one of the candidates has been named in a federal lawsuit that involves sex assault.

The lawsuit, filed in 2017, names several administrators in the North Kansas City School District.

They are accused of negligence by not fully vetting a teacher who has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a student.

One of those administrators, current NKC superintendent Daniel Clemens, is one of three finalists for the top job in Douglas County.

The suit claims Clemens and other administrators in the Missouri school district should have done more to prevent Samuel Waltemath’s wrongdoing.

Waltemath, a former middle school teacher in North Kansas City, pleaded guilty to sodomy stemming from allegations in 2015 that he sexually assaulted one of his female students.

The lawsuit also alleges Clemens knew of Waltemath’s improper relationships at other schools before Waltemath was hired in the NKC district.

Related: North Kansas City School District lawsuit

In a statement, the Douglas County Board of Education president said the accusations listed in the lawsuit took place before Clemens’ role as superintendent.

Clemens was head of human resources, among other operations, for the district when accusations of sexual assault surfaced.

"The DCSD Board of Education contracted with an executive search firm to screen and recruit exemplary candidates interested in becoming our next superintendent," board president David Ray said in a statement.

"Finalists also had to pass an extensive background check completed by a third party contractor. The accusations listed in the civil lawsuit took place prior to Dr. Clemens’ superintendency for the North Kansas City School District."

The North Kansas City School District said it is commonplace for administrators such as Clemens to be named in lawsuits against the district.

“Such a reference to him in no way reflects poorly on him, nor his tremendous ability to lead," North Kansas City School District spokeswoman Rochel Daniels said. "We wish Douglas County School District the best of luck as they search for strong leadership. We know we have that in Dr. Clemens."

Clemens himself could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Douglas County School Board is expected to announce who will become superintendent at 6 p.m. Thursday at district headquarters in Castle Rock.