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Former Ohio County student, Board of Education reach settlement on student-teacher relationship

OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. — A former Ohio County student and the Ohio County Schools Board of Education have reached a settlement connected to a relationship between the individual and a former teacher.

Christopher Birch filed a lawsuit in April against Elizabeth Harbet and the Ohio County Schools Board of Education, accusing Harbert of sexually and mentally abusing him. Ohio County Circuit Court Judge Jason Cuomo dismissed Harbert from the case, citing a statute of limitations.

Harbert previously taught Birch at Bridge Street Middle School and Wheeling Park High School. The relationship between Harbert and Birch began in 2005 when she was 28 years old and he was 15. According to a criminal complaint, the relationship resulted in four children.

As part of the agreement, the board denies all liability.

“Mr. Birch is grateful and pleased the matter has resolved and is thankful for all the public support he received while the case was proceeding,” Birch’s attorney Teresa Toriseva said. “Mr. Birch is anxious to move forward and will have no further comment on these matters.”

Harbert agreed to an Alford plea in August and sentenced to between one and five years in prison for third-degree sexual assault.

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