HAMMOND | Former Morton High School teacher and coach Benjamin Chinn is suing the School City of Hammond and its School Board three months after being acquitted of engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.
Chinn, 27, Morton’s former boys varsity basketball coach, alleges in his federal lawsuit he was wrongfully fired from his job. The former Merrillville resident, who moved to Arizona and worked as a bartender there, contends the school district intentionally sent a letter about termination proceedings to the wrong address to avoid providing him with notice, and was therefore improperly suspended from his job without pay. He also argues his termination was constitutionally unfair and without due process.
Chinn subsequently lost his Indiana teaching license, having expired by virtue of the district's banning him from school grounds and not taking action to renew the license, his lawsuit states. In addition, he claims his lifelong desire of coaching high school basketball has been “devastated” by the school district’s “rash” actions.
Chinn contends the school district told him he would receive back pay if he were found not guilty. He is seeking punitive damages and attorney fees in addition to back pay.
In June, a jury found Chinn not guilty after a four-day trial that essentially pitted the girl’s word against his.