Hazard High School principal faces ongoing 2019 lawsuit

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Posted at 4:22 PM, Oct 29, 2021

HAZARD, Ky. (LEX 18) — Hazard High School's recent homecoming rally "Man Pageant" isn't the first time Principal Donald "Happy" Mobelini has faced controversy involving students.

Mobelini, who is also mayor of Hazard, was accused in a 2019 lawsuit of providing a lack of supervision on a class trip during which a female student was allegedly assaulted by another student.

According to court documents, the female student alleges that some of the students on the trip, who were juniors at the time, were in a single hotel room drinking alcohol. The young woman claims she was physically and sexually assaulted by a fellow male student when he walked her back to her room later that night. At no time did the two other teacher chaperones check on the students, despite noise coming from their rooms and in the hallway.

The following day, she reported the assault to principal Mobelini. The two other teachers made offensive comments, including "This was all her fault" and "She wasn't telling the truth." The female student alleges that at no time was she encouraged to see a doctor and was only given medical care once she returned home from the trip. She claims that a lack of adequate adult supervision on this trip led to her assault.

Allegedly, educators knew drinking and partying would happen on the trip because of similar behavior during previous school trips to places like Chicago and the Bahamas.

State officials previously investigated Mobelini after photos surfaced on Facebook, showing him driving students around as they smoked and drank alcohol, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

In 2008, police caught students drinking on the football field, only moments after Mobelini walked away.

During both of these incidents, Mobelini did not get into trouble because he said he didn't know about the drinking.

A jury trial is scheduled for August 2022.