The father of a Georgia teenager has filed a lawsuit against The Citadel and a former cadet who he said placed his daughter's name and phone number on a pornographic website.
Randy Upton, the father of 17-year-old Kelsey Upton, filed the civil lawsuit Dec. 14 against The Citadel and former cadet Andrew Steven Smith. Mount Pleasant attorney Lawrence Richter is representing Upton.
In the suit, Randy Upton, who is from Oxford, Ga., claims The Citadel did not properly monitor and filter cadets' Internet and computer use. He is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.
Richter said the school had the ability to screen cadets' use of pornographic sites, but it didn't do that.
In the lawsuit, Upton accused The Citadel and Smith of gross negligence, defaming his daughter and invading her privacy. And he claimed Smith intentionally inflicted emotional distress.
Smith did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
Citadel attorney Dawes Cooke said, "I'm surprised they included The Citadel in this case. The Citadel has cooperated with this family."
He also said the school plans to defend itself. "The Citadel categorically denies any complicity in what the cadet allegedly has done."
Upton alleged that during the 2009-2010 school year, while Smith was enrolled as a cadet at The Citadel, he placed Kelsey's name and phone number on the website next to a photo of a naked woman who resembled her.
Kelsey learned about what Smith had done when a 55-year-old man from Iowa sent her a text message, Upton has said.
Upton said Smith knew Kelsey because he is from Georgia and was a friend of one of her friends.
Upton, a federal investigator who previously worked for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, was surprised to learn that what the cadet allegedly had done was not a crime.
The Citadel held a Commandant's Board hearing on Smith's actions in March. The Uptons attended the hearing and made statements.
Upton said Smith apologized for his actions, but he didn't sound sincere.
Cooke said federal law prohibits the school from commenting on disciplinary action taken against Smith. All he could say was that Smith is not currently enrolled at The Citadel.
Upton said his daughter, who is an honor student, suffered from Smith's actions. She had to drop a class because of the stress she was experiencing. She was on track to be salutatorian of her high school graduating class this spring, he said, but dropping the course could mean her class rank will drop to third.
Kelsey and her father are now working on passing a law in Georgia that would make it a crime to place personal information about a minor on a pornographic website.
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491.