Student, principal drop dueling lawsuits

UTAH — A high school student who was expelled fromschool and charged with criminal libel for creating a Web sitethat made fun of school administrators and students reached atentative agreement with his former principal in March in whichboth sides agreed to drop their lawsuits against each other.

Ian Lake, a former Milford High School student, agreed notto pursue the threatened civil rights lawsuit against then-schoolprincipal Walter Schofield after both parties met for mediation.In exchange, Schofield agreed to drop the civil libel complainthe filed against the teen last August.

Lake was expelled from school, arrested and detained for sevendays in May after he posted a Web site from his home computerthat referred to female classmates as "sluts" and Schofieldas "the town drunk."

A month later, Lake was charged with one count of criminallibel, making him the first person in Utah to be charged withthe misdemeanor since 1987. His is also Utah’s first criminallibel case involving the Internet.

Although Lake and Schofield settled the suits, the criminalcharges against Lake still stand. The case is now before the statecourt of appeals, after a Fifth Circuit Juvenile Court judge refusedto dismiss the case. Lake’s attorneys are claiming that the criminallibel charge is unconstitutional.

According to Ian Lake’s father, David Lake, Ian is still consideringfiling a lawsuit against the Beaver School District, the sheriff’sdepartment, Beaver County and the state of Utah.

"The conduct of the sheriff’s department in this caseand the continuing discovery of cover-up by the sheriff and othersmake it necessary to continue to fight the criminal case to itsconclusion," David Lake said in a statement.