Christopher Birch, 28, claims he was abused by his high school teacher who then gave birth to four of his children, after grooming him from the age of 13, settles lawsuit with school district
Birch in his April lawsuit states that he was a junior at Wheeling Park High School in Ohio County when he welcomed his and Harbert’s first child at the age of 16
Ohio County Schools in West Virginia reached a confidential settlement with former student Christopher Birch on Thursday
Harbert was Birch’s guardian from when he was 13 years old and he lived with her and her husband
Birch said they first had sex when he was 14 and Harbert, then 30, told him to think of her as ’70 percent mom and 30 percent girlfriend’
Harbert got divorced in 2006 and fell pregnant with a then-16-year-old Birch’s baby in 2007, the first of four children together
The claimant said he had tried to leave Harbert 30 times after their relationship ended in 2018 – and by filing the lawsuit finally found a way out without losing his children
Harbert denied any wrongdoing, claiming she was a victim of years-long emotional and physical abuse at her lover’s hands
In August, she pled guilty to third-degree sexual assault and was sentenced to one to five years in prison
Judge Jason Cuomo dismissed most of the lawsuit in June because a two-year statute of limitation expired but Birch was still able to sue for the negligent hiring of Harbert.
Birch’s lawyer tells The Intelligencer the settlement agreements are confidential.
‘Mr. Birch is grateful and pleased the matter has resolved and is thankful for all the public support he received while the case was proceeding,’ his attorney stated.
‘Mr. Birch is anxious to move forward and will have no further comment on these matters.’
The lawsuit claimed Birch and Harbert’s first sexual encounter occurred when she was 30 and he was 14 and that Harbert told him to think of her as ’70 percent mom and 30 percent girlfriend’.
Harbert got divorced from her coal miner husband in 2006.
By 2007, when Birch was just 16 and still attending Wheeling Park High School where she worked, the teacher was pregnant with his child, the civil lawsuit stated.
They would go on to have four children together. A paternity test stated there is a 99.99 percent chance Birch is the father of Harbert’s eldest child, identified only by his initials, B.H.
After their relationship ended in 2018, he had tried to leave Harbert 30 times, Birch said and by filing the lawsuit finally found a way out without losing his children.
Harbert initially denied any wrongdoing, saying through her attorney that she was a victim of years-long emotional and physical abuse at Birch’s hands.
In August, she pled guilty to third-degree sexual assault and was sentenced to one to five years in prison.
Upon serving her prison term, Harbert will be under supervised release for 10 years and will have to register as a sex offender for life.