IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Principal of school in lap dance incident accused in 2019 sexual assault suit of not monitoring students

A lawsuit alleges that a teen was assaulted during a school trip and accuses Donald Mobelini and two teachers of failing to supervise students.

The principal of a Kentucky high school under fire over photos appearing to depict students performing lap dances for staff is also embroiled in a sexual assault lawsuit.

The suit was filed in 2019 by a former Hazard High School student and alleges that she was physically and sexually assaulted on a school trip when she was 16. The girl, who NBC News is not naming because she's the victim of a sexual assault, accused principal Donald "Happy" Mobelini and two teachers of failing to properly monitor the children during the trip.

Hazard High School principal Donald Mobelini.
Hazard High School principal Donald Mobelini.City of Hazard

The school district, Mobelini, and the two teachers, Luke Glaser and Sheena Breeding, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. Mobelini is also the mayor of Hazard.

The alleged incident occurred while students were on a "Junior Trip" to New York City and Washington, D.C., between Oct. 26 and Oct. 31, 2017, according to the lawsuit. Around 60 people were on the trip including Mobelini, Glaser and Breeding. The suit claims that the principal and teachers were the only adult chaperones.

The students were allowed to walk around Times Square unsupervised for hours, according to the lawsuit.

Several students allegedly purchased alcohol and marijuana and brought the items back to their hotel rooms. The suit says that Mobelini and the teachers did not check the students' belongings prior to them arriving at the hotel and did not monitor them throughout the night.

Some of the students had a party in their room, which the victim attended. According to the suit, around a dozen students were in the room drinking alcohol. The victim "took several drinks of the alcohol," it says.

Around 4 or 5 a.m. a male student escorted the victim to her room where he "physically and sexually assaulted" her, the lawsuit alleges.

“During the assault, [the victim] told the student to stop but he did not,” it states. “At no time after the return to the hotel ... did the Hazard chaperones Mobelini, Breeding and Glaser, check on students in their care, despite the noise going on in the students’ rooms and in the hallway.”

The victim reported the assault to Mobelini the following day, according to the suit. Chaperones made "numerous offensive comments" including blaming her for the assault and discouraging her from filing charges, the lawsuit states.

The victim and the male student were also brought into the same room and were forced "to confront each other," according to the lawsuit. Once the victim returned home, her mother allegedly took her to the hospital for an evaluation.

The girl transferred from Hazard High School following the assault. The suit says that the victim suffered emotional and mental distress and she is seeking compensation.

"The negligence of Defendants Mobelini, Breeding and Glaser in carrying out their functions of supervision resulted in the physical and sexual assault of the Plaintiff," the suit says.

The lawsuit remains ongoing in Perry County Circuit Court. Online records show that a pretrial conference is scheduled for August 2022.

Hazard High School faced backlash this week after photos posted to social media showed students appearing to give lap dances to staff members during homecoming festivities. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Mobelini was involved and is pictured in one of the images.

Hazard Independent School District Superintendent Sondra Combs said in a statement that disciplinary action was taken but did not provide further details.

"I found photos of inappropriate student-led activities that had since surfaced on social media. The district has the responsibility to address these issues that arise out of school-based activities. As a district, we are doing exactly that," Combs said.

Mobelini has not publicly commented on the homecoming festivities.