May 13, 2011 -- An upset father of a kindergartener at the elite Sidwell Friends School is suing the school for $10 million because one of its former counselors allegedly had an affair with his wife.
The lawsuit, filed by Arthur "Terry" Newmyer on Thursday, alleges that Sidwell Friends School and counselor James Huntington were negligent, inflicted emotional distress and shirked their ethical duties in allowing an affair between Huntington and Newmyer's wife, Tara. The suit claims the affair caused emotional damage to his daughter. Newmyer filed the lawsuit on behalf of his daughter and is asking for $10 million in damages.
"We're disappointed that Mr. Newmyer chose this course of action. The complaint is without merit and we will vigorously contest it," said Ellis Taylor, spokesperson for Sidwell Friends School.
The prestigious school, situated in Washington, D.C., is famous for being the school that Sasha and Malia Obama attend. The school, which costs nearly $25,000 to attend each year, teaches students from elementary through high school.
Huntington was the middle school counselor until he left in February of this year. It is unclear if he was fired or resigned. Huntington was also the sixth grade sex education teacher during the year Malia Obama was in sixth grade, the Washington Examiner reported.
Arthur and Tara Newmyer are now separated, but Arthur Newmyer claims that in January of 2010, Tara Newmyer began an affair with Huntington. The Newmyer couple had a "commuter marriage" where Arthur Newmyer spent time commuting back and forth from Palm Beach, Fla., according to the lawsuit.
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Arthur Newmyer is in his 60s and once ran a prominent consulting firm in Washington. He, along with generations of his family, attended Sidwell Friends.
"He is devastated by...the behavior and attitude of the school of which I think he once had a lot of respect for because of his education, his family's education, their standing in the community…I think he's more hurt than anything at the end of the day that everybody lost sight of her, [Newmyer's daughter]," said Geoffrey Loree, a friend of Arthur Newmyer.
Arthur and Tara Newmyer have been married about 10 years and are currently in the midst of a divorce, Lorre said. The couple have two daughters, a 6 year old and a 4 year old, Loree said.
According to the lawsuit, both the Newmyer's daughter and Huntington's daughter were in pre-kindergarten class together. Tara Newmyer allegedly scheduled an appointment with Huntington for her daughter to be evaluated by the psychologist in January 2010. The appointment occured at the Newmyer home, according to court documents.
The lawsuit alleges that Huntington continued to treat the Newmyer couple's daughter while having an affair with Tara Newmyer.
"Huntington commenced an intimate, sexual affair with her mother, Tara. Huntington knew at the time that the Newmyers were married and that they were sleeping in the same bed when Terry [Arthur Newmyer] was in Washington," the lawsuit states.
Huntington's ex-wife, Liza Huntington, found out about the affair and begged James Huntington to end it. When he didn't, she told Arthur Newmyer about his wife's affair, according to court documents.
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"Out of concern...Liza Huntington called Terry to tell him that her ex-husband and Tara were arranging play dates for their children so they could spend time with each other and that the affair was having an adverse impact on their children. Thereafter Terry confronted Tara, who admitted that she had been having an affair with Huntington," the lawsuit states.
Arthur Newmyer claims that Huntington sent sexually graphic emails from the school server to Tara Newmyer while he was meeting with students. He claims that Sidwell Friends acted inappropriately by not protecting his daughter once they were made aware of the affair.
Carol Anderson is a family friend of the Newmyer couple and said that they seemed like an ordinary couple until the affair. Anderson said that both Tara and Arthur Newmyer are committed to their children.
"She's a devoted mother. I think they both really care about their children and they just don't have the same views as how they should be raised," she said.
Tara Newmyer's attorney did not return messages for comment.