Former student files lawsuit against Matthew Priebe, Lansing Public Schools

Published: Nov. 21, 2019 at 12:51 PM EST
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A former student has filed a lawsuit against Matthew Priebe, the City of Lansing, Lansing Public Schools, and the District Board of Education.

Athziry Pilar claims the Lansing School District never contacted her during its investigation into Priebe.

According to court documents, the suit "arises from defendants' deliberately indifferent response to employee-on-student sexual harassment on school premises and subsequent sex-based harassment."

Court documents state Pilar met Priebe, a school resource officer at Eastern, in September 2015 when she was 16 years old.

Priebe shared personal information with her about parts of his life like where he grew up and why he wanted to become a police officer, according to the court documents.

Court documents state Priebe began sharing photographs of violent suicide scenes, including a picture of a man who hung himself, as well as a photograph of a man who shot himself in the head.

Pilar recognized the photograph of the man who shot himself in the head and told Priebe that was her friend's uncle.

Court documents said Priebe told Pilar not to tell anyone what he showed her because it was "confidential."

As the two continued to get to know each other, Priebe asked the plaintiff questions about her parents, according to the suit.

He found out from the plaintiff that her father was from Mexico and looked up his criminal record online.

After this, court documents said Pilar "became afraid that Priebe would negatively impact her parents' immigration statuses."

Priebe told Pilar that "they were becoming 'very close' and told her they were becoming best friends and building trust in one another."

Documents state that Pilar was uncomfortable with these statements due to the fact that she had confided in Priebe because he was an authority figure, not because he was her friend.

Court documents state Priebe used this information "to threaten and intimidate" Pilar "into submitting to his sexual demands."

A couple of days after the conversation about the her parents, Pilar was in the security office with Priebe where he "leaned over and stuck his finger in the ripped holes of her pants, right in the center of her thigh," according to court documents.

In the suit, Pilar states she felt that Priebe was implying that he knew about her parents' immigration statuses and "felt scared because she did not want Priebe to negatively impact her family's immigration status."

It says in November of 2015, Priebe took the Pilar on a "ride along" with him to a court hearing in downtown Lansing, and asked for the plaintiff's phone number in December of 2015.

In one instance, court documents show Priebe sent photographs of his hotel room to Pilar and told her there was "room for two."

Communication continued between the two and court documents detail that she felt "obligated to respond when Priebe sent her text messages."

A couple of months later in January of 2016, Priebe went to Pilar's house and asked her mother to sign a waiver allowing her to patrol the City of Lansing with him.

Court documents say Priebe took the plaintiff in his patrol car to a location on the Lansing River Trail under a bridge at Cedar Street and Kalamazoo Street, but was not working as a resource officer at the time nor was he on regular shift.

Court documents say "while the car was stopped, Priebe leaned in to try to kiss" Pilar.

Court documents say Priebe told Pilar to "get comfortable" with him and that she "didn't need to be shy."

Court documents say Priebe continued rubbing her thigh with his right hand and "then took her right hand with his left hand and placed it on his erect penis."

Pilar began distancing herself from Priebe in February 2016, according to court documents.

As time continued on, court documents state Priebe told the plaintiff about his past sexual experiences and talk about having sex with Pilar.

In one instance, court documents state that Priebe told Pilar "if they did have sex, they did not need to use a condom because he had had a vasectomy."

Pilar is seeking damages in excess of $25,000 and has undergone mental and emotional distress, according to court documents.


against Priebe to News 10 earlier this year.

Priebe was sentenced to less than a year in jail and five years probation back in October.

In addition, he cannot have contact with anyone under the age of 17 unless they are family, and he must register as a sex offender.

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.

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