Local

Chappell School gets sued by nine families for the behavior of former employee Anthony Guadalupe

Jacksonville, Fla. — In a civil lawsuit, filed this week, the families of nine children are suing Chappell School LLC for the inappropriate behavior of a former employee, 18-year-old Anthony Guadalupe.

The CEO Melanie Williams and Director Heather Benacia of Chappell School’s Longleaf location in St. Johns County are also included as defendants in the lawsuit, which is made up of 10 counts, including negligence, and vicarious liability.

The CEO and director are listed as having supervised Guadalupe during his employment from February to July of this year.

The plaintiffs include the parent of nine children who claim their children were sexually abused by Guadalupe, Their legal action calls for 30 thousand dollars in damages.

The lawsuit comes after a father, who was picking his daughter up from school witnessed his child pulling up her underwear as he walked in.

The father went back the same day to review footage of the classroom, and that’s when he saw Guadalupe inappropriately touching his child and lifting her skirt as she stood in front of him.

The parent quickly got The Department of Children and Families involved, who reviewed the footage, and authorities arrested Guadalupe for the felony charge of lewd and lascivious.

The current lawsuit alleges that the Chappell School Longleaf’s management, Benacia, and Williams knew about Guadalupe’s behavior and neglected to warn parents or take further actions to protect the children.

The 10 counts listed by the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are as follows:

  • COUNT I - Direct Negligence - (against Chappell)
  • COUNT II - Vicarious Liability - (against Chappell based on acts by Guadalupe)
  • COUNT III - Negligence - (against Director)
  • COUNT IV - Negligence - (against CEO)
  • COUNT V - Vicarious Liability -(against Chappell based on acts by Director, CEO and employees)
  • COUNT VI - NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS - (as to all Defendants)
  • COUNT VII - NEGLIGENT FAILURE TO WARN - (against all Defendants)
  • COUNT VIII - NEGLIGENT RETENTION - (against Defendant Chappell)
  • COUNT IX - NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION - (as to all Defendants)
  • COUNT X - PARENTAL LOSS OF CONSORTIUM - (as to Defendants)



Sheifalika Bhatnagar

Sheifalika Bhatnagar

Sheifalika Bhatnagar is WOKV's investigative news reporter, covering top local news, including the city and government, crime and prevention and school board beats. She is a University of North Florida graduate with a degree in Communication, focused on Multimedia Production and Journalism.

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