The Waldoboro area school district is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by a student graduate claiming she was sexually harassed by a former principal.

The attorney for SAD 40/RSU 40 filed the motion March 11 in the U.S. District Court in Portland to seek dismissal of the first two counts of the complaint filed Dec. 27 by the former student.

Former principal Andrew Cavanaugh filed his response last month and denied the claims by the woman.

"The school district’s position on behavior of this nature is clear and undisputed: it has zero tolerance for it and, as alleged in the Complaint, it has a sexual harassment policy to combat it," the motion filed by school attorney Melissa Hewey states.

"However, the school district can only act upon matters of which it is actually aware and here, even taking as true Plaintiff’s allegations, nobody with supervisory authority — other than Defendant Cavanaugh, whose knowledge is not relevant for purposes of determining the School District’s liability under Title IX — knew about Cavanaugh’s alleged behavior until the fall of 2017, at which point RSU 40 immediately placed Cavanaugh on leave, after which he resigned."

The school district said the woman failed to show that an official with authority to take corrective measures acted with deliberate indifference toward her.

The lawsuit filed by the woman claims harassment by Cavanaugh and failure of MSAD 40/RSU 40 and high school social worker Chuck Nguyen to stop the former principal's behavior.

"With respect to Nguyen, even assuming that being informed that Cavanaugh gave Plaintiff gifts and took her to the doctor is sufficient to constitute actual knowledge of sexual harassment by Nguyen, he did not have the authority to address the alleged discrimination or to institute corrective action," the school district contends in its motion.

In a response filed in court on behalf of Nguyen, his attorney John Wall III stated March 11 that Nguyen denies being told by the woman of the alleged actions of Cavanaugh.

No hearings in the case has been scheduled.

The woman claims she was diagnosed with adjustment disorder, social anxiety and worsened depression as a direct result of the emotionally traumatic relationship with Cavanaugh.

The former student, now 19, claims Cavanaugh began paying her special attention when she was 16 years old and a junior at the high school in Waldoboro.

Cavanaugh resigned as principal in 2017 after police began an investigation a month earlier into whether any crime occurred as part of his relationship with a student. No charges were ever filed.

Waldoboro Police began the investigation after a third-party reported the relationship and then referred the matter to the Knox County Sheriff's Office. Cavanaugh was initially placed on administrative leave.

The woman — who is represented by attorneys Eric LeBlanc of Cambridge, Mass. and Rachel Deschuytner of Portland — said Cavanaugh began commenting on her looks and clothing in front of other students and staff.

He would then buy her personal hygiene products and give them to her in front of students and staff.

The woman claims in the lawsuit she spoke to Nguyen and asked if this was normal behavior and he told her Cavanaugh's actions were appropriate.

She went back again to the social worker when Cavanaugh offered to take her to a doctor's appointment for her required check-up to participate in cheerleading.

The lawsuit claims the social worker assured her that Cavanaugh was simply trying to be a "father figure" to her.

When Cavanaugh suggested she consider birth control, the woman said she again raised her concern to the social worker who said there was nothing inappropriate in the comment, according to her lawsuit.

The woman said Cavanaugh then began texting her on a frequent basis — 5,000 texts between April and November 2017. The texts would be throughout the school day and into the early morning hours.

Comments often-times were sexually suggested, according to the lawsuit.

"Defendant Cavanaugh’s actions were extreme, outrageous, beyond the bounds of decency and utterly intolerable in a civilized society," the lawsuit states.

At one point, he offered her a scholarship to an Outward Bound program through the school.

Cavanaugh also informed the woman that he purchased a car for her in 2017.

Cavanaugh was the principal at Medomak Valley since 2015. He worked at the school since around  2004 when he was an economics and government teacher.

SAD 40 consists of Waldoboro, Warren, Union, Washington and Friendship.

The newspaper has chosen not to identify the woman.