DEVILS LAKE-A former provider who claims a youth care facility fired her for reporting "cruel conduct" toward at-risk children has dropped her federal defamation case against a Devils Lake Public Schools employee.
Katherine Gray, an ex-direct care provider for Harmony House in Devils Lake, reached a settlement in North Dakota's U.S. District Court that would dismiss any allegations against Devils Lake teacher Catherine Miller, according to court documents filed in mid-November. The order did not disclose the terms of the settlement other than to say it was with prejudice, meaning the allegations cannot be brought back to court.
The claims come from a lawsuit filed in March against multiple defendants, including Devils Lake Public Schools and the Lake Region Special Education, because the two entities jointly operate Harmony House, which educates at-risk children. Gray claims facility Director Barry Sundeen "covered up and protected" the actions of co-worker David Kosmatka, who, according to Gray's allegations, belittled children, yelled at them in a threatening manner and walked in on them while they were changing clothes, according to court documents.
Gray said she told Sundeen she would report the incidents to police, according to the lawsuit. She was fired shortly after. Sundeen said her employment was "not working out."
Gray was employed at Harmony House from October 2014 to June 27, 2016.
The lawsuit also names Sundeen and other defendants: Ramsey County District Court, Ramsey County State's Attorney Kari Agotness, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and board members of Devils Lake Public Schools. All defendants have asked the case to be dismissed for various reasons.
It's unclear what progress, if any, has been made on further settlements. Attorneys for Gray and Devils Lake Public Schools did not reply to requests for comment.
A jury trial is set for Feb. 26, 2019.