Despite hiring a private investigator to seek out former Bibb County school Superintendant Romain Dallemand in Haiti, lawyers trying to serve him with a subpoena haven’t been able to find him.
The lawyers are trying to have Dallemand deposed as part of a lawsuit brought by a girl against the school district, claiming that she was raped inside a Northeast High School restroom in 2012.
School district attorneys and a lawyer who formerly represented Dallemand have said the former Bibb schools chief now lives in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Dallemand is a native Haitian.
On June 23, a federal judge ordered that a subpoena be issued for Dallemand and that he be deposed via video from Haiti in July.
The order came after the girl’s attorneys made several attempts to contact Dallemand by phone. Attempts to deliver a letter via FedEx also were unsuccessful, according to federal court records.
The discovery phase of the case -- the period when lawyers collect and share evidence before trial -- is nearing completion. Court records show that lawyers have an Aug. 14 deadline, but Jarome Gautreaux, one of the lawyers representing the girl and her mother, said Friday that the deadline has been extended about a month.
Gautreaux said he’s researching remedies short of extradition that would still allow Dallemand’s testimony to be included in the case.
Although it’s not uncommon for uncooperative witnesses in the United States to be taken into custody and brought to court, Gautreaux said he’s never heard of a witness from outside the country being extradited to be deposed as part of a lawsuit.
“I would love nothing more than to put Dr. Dallemand under oath and ask him some questions,” he said.
But the girl’s lawyers may have to move on with the case without Dallemand’s participation, Gautreaux said.
Dallemand was superintendent from February 2011 until February 2013, when the school system bought out his contract.
Because Dallemand was superintendent at the time of the episode, the girl’s lawyers contend that he could have rubber-stamped a districtwide safety study after the incident and would have been involved in discussions regarding prior sexual assaults at Bibb schools.
The girl was 16 in January 2012 when she alleges she was forced to perform sex acts inside a schooL restroom. Although seven teenagers were initially charged with rape, the charges were ultimately dropped and the girl, who is mentally challenged, was charged with making false statements and falsely reporting a crime. Charges against the girl also were later dropped.
Prosecutors have said that although the girl didn’t consent to all the sex acts, they didn’t think they could overcome jurors’ reasonable doubts at trial because she didn’t initially disclose everything that happened.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.