YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Poland Board of Education, township trustees and former school resource officer Steve Kent are now facing a civil lawsuit, filed by an alleged victim of Kent’s.

The lawsuit filed Friday in Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas alleges that Kent committed sexual assault and battery against the plaintiff, who was 16 and 17 at the time.

The lawsuit also alleges negligent hiring and supervision on the part of the township and Board of Education, which served as Kent’s supervisors. It also alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence and asks for a trial by jury and judgment in excess of $25,000.

The lawsuit centers on Kent’s time working as a school resource officer inside Poland Seminary High School from 2013 to 2021.

It alleges that Kent started communicating with the plaintiff via Instagram in 2019. According to the lawsuit, the communications became more frequent in 2020, but after a friend’s mother found out about the communication, she ordered the plaintiff to call Kent while she was there and she then told the plaintiff and Kent to stop messaging one another.

The lawsuit does not indicate whether the woman involved police at that time.

On March 24, 2020, the lawsuit alleges that Kent then had his daughter send the plaintiff a message through her social media account that he was saying hello, and he encouraged the two to become friends. According to the lawsuit, after Kent began communicating with the girl again, he would ask her to meet him at locations throughout Poland while he was working as a patrol officer.

The lawsuit alleges that Kent began asking for explicit photos of the girl and then began sending nude photos of himself to her on Snapchat, saying, “I showed you mine so it is only fair that you show me yours.”

The lawsuit alleges that Kent backed off on the communications in August 2020 because he said other Poland officers were “on to him.”

According to the lawsuit, the two again began meeting up again in November 2020, this time outside of Kent’s work hours. During one meeting, the lawsuit alleges that Kent had his firearm with him and the lawsuit states that he told the girl that he carries it at all times. The lawsuit says the girl felt pressured into physical activity, partly because she felt threatened by his firearm that he had moved to the ground between them while they were in his truck. The lawsuit contends that Kent also “brainwashed” the girl into thinking that their relationship was genuine.

The relationship ended when the girl’s father learned of it in June 2021, at which time the lawsuit alleges that Kent destroyed his phone and/or its data in an attempt to hide evidence. He was placed on unpaid administrative leave in June of 2021 after the girl’s father reported the relationship to police and the district. In March, Poland Township then voted to discharge Kent for “immoral conduct and malfeasance.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Kent had other inappropriate relationships with underage students and “had a reputation within the school of pursuing underage female students.”

Kent is also facing criminal charges as a result of the investigation. He is charged with three counts of sexual battery and one count of tampering with evidence. A final pretrial in that case is set for July 21, according to court records.

Kent also works as an Austintown trustee. Trustees previously released a statement that the charges against Kent are “absolutely disgusting and disturbing” but that they can’t do anything legally at this time while the case is still moving through the court system.