Fired Episcopal teacher Vincent Hoang put on leave from Woodlawn High
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board placed a Woodlawn High teacher on paid administrative leave Wednesday, October 12 following a report by the 9NEWS Investigators about his allegedly troubled past at another school.
The teacher, Vincent Hoang, will remain on administrative leave while the district further investigates.
Hoang is the subject of a lawsuit filed last week by a former Episcopal School student where Hoang was a teacher until the administrators at that elite private school fired him last March.
He was hired to work as a health and physical education teacher at Woodlawn High on August 1, 2022, records show.
In the lawsuit, the female former student, identified only as “Z Doe”, claims Hoang attempted to “groom” her into having a sexual relationship with him beginning in the 2020-2021 school year and continuing into 2022.
The former student claims Hoang repeatedly told her he wanted to have a “mixed” baby with her and sent her sexually explicit text messages.
The lawsuit also claims that, years earlier, Hoang had a “sexual relationship” with a different girl, who was then a senior at Episcopal. The lawsuit claims that alleged relationship later “resulted in the birth of a child.”
Z Doe claims the alleged actions by Hoang led her to eventually leave the school prior to graduating.
She is asking for damages including “extreme emotional distress and mental anguish, assault and battery, loss of educational opportunities, and embarrassment.”
A string of text messages given to the 9NEWS Investigators provides a clearer idea of the pressure the Episcopal student was under when her teacher allegedly groomed her for sex. The victim’s lawyer, Jill Craft, says the teacher - married with kids- lays out his needs and even asks the girl about her mom- adding that he may be open for other things.
“His response is that her mother is looking for a youngin and he may be the community d*ck,” Craft said. The text messages show where the student says her mom is old and Hoang allegedly responds “the older the berry, the sweeter the juice”.
“These are not the communications of an educator to a senior in high school or to anyone for that matter,” said Craft.
The lawsuit claims Episcopal administrators were aware of repeated inappropriate interactions Hoang allegedly had with Z Doe and certain other female students and did not take proper actions to stop it.
In a letter to parents last week, Episcopal’s Head of School Dr. Carrie Steakley disputed the lawsuit’s allegations against the school. “One such allegation is that Episcopal had previous knowledge about the former employee’s behavior yet took no action,” the letter says. “To be clear, administrators acted as soon as we had knowledge, terminating the employee immediately in March of 2022,” Steakley’s letter said.
The young woman’s attorney calls it all deeply troubling. Craft says when her client turned down Hoang’s alleged sexual advances, things got difficult for her. In one message, the girl appears to tell the teacher she will turn in an assignment and that she saw where her grade went down. In the text message the teacher appears to respond, “it be like that sometimes”. Between that and the sexual messages, Craft calls it downright awful.”
It’s hard enough being a kid today,” said Craft. “You’re exposed to so much but can you honestly imagine somebody you look up to and think is like the greatest teacher on the planet is talking about his penis? I mean what does that do to a child?”
Craft has serious questions about what Episcopal administrators knew about the situation and how they handled the allegations.
The lawsuit alleges that administrators at Episcopal were aware that Hoang “regularly had female minor students eat lunch in his classroom” but did nothing to “inquire, much less, stop the behavior.”
During one of those times when the females were allegedly in his classroom, the lawsuit claims one of the female students asked how men get erections. The lawsuit claims Hoang volunteered to show the girl, using Z Doe as an example, “because she’s 18″ and “I can’t go to jail.” “Defendant Hoang then proceeded to forcibly grab Petitioner (Z Doe) by her waist and began rubbing his private part against her body producing an erection,” the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit claims Hoang told the student he could help her get into prestigious colleges and obtain scholarships and that he was “very popular” with Episcopal administrators.
The lawsuit claims Z Doe eventually showed a fellow student “sexually explicit texts” she had received from Hoang and that student encouraged her to show someone. Z Doe says she then emailed one of her Episcopal tutors with copies of the text messages. Within days of that happening, the lawsuit says, Hoang was no longer employed at the school.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Craft how much blame she puts on Episcopal School administrators. ”Look, what I’m hearing from students and from text messages that I’ve seen and communications among the children and social media posts, you can’t tell me that nobody had any clue that this was going on,” Craft said.
In a letter sent to parents Friday, October 7, 2022, the head of Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, Carrie Steakley defends the school saying they knew nothing about the alleged interactions but once they found out they took immediate action, firing Hoang and reporting him to law enforcement. A spokeswoman with the sheriff’s office though tells the 9NEWS Investigators that no criminal complaint was made to their agency but instead the school’s resource officer was simply told the teacher was fired.
”Come on. No investigation, no nothing, and no asking any of these other kids..nothing. It’s appalling,” said Craft. “Schools are required to act when they know or should know that situations like this occur. You don’t react because you’re getting sued. You react because it’s the right thing to do.”
Hoang was fired from Episcopal back in March and has since been working at Woodlawn High School. Tonight we know he’s been placed on administrative leave from that school now that these allegations have surfaced.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Craft if she believes Hoang should be working anywhere else with children.
”If it were me I certainly wouldn’t somebody working around kids that’s talking about his penis to a child.. I wouldn’t,” said Craft.
That attorney tells WAFB she hopes there will be a full investigation to see how far back the complaints went against Hoang and whether anyone had ever told school administrators about him in the past.
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