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Bowie High School's theater director faces new lawsuit in state district court

The lawsuit alleges that Diane "Betsy" Cornwell, forced students to engage in "intimacy sessions that were nothing more than choreographed sexual assaults."

AUSTIN, Texas — A lawsuit filed in state district court last week accuses Diane "Betsy" Cornwell of "abusing her power over the plaintiffs for her own perverse ends," among other claims.

Three former Bowie High School students are suing Cornwell over allegations of forcing them to engage in intimacy sessions that "were nothing more than choreographed sexual assaults," according to the lawsuit.

Walden Hagelman, Andie Haddad and Dana Havlin are also part of a federal lawsuit against the Austin Independent School District.  They claim the district created an unsafe environment by not disciplining or removing Cornwell from her position. 

A total of nine Bowie High School alumni are part of that lawsuit after a new group of four joined on Jan. 13. Cornwell was dropped from the federal suit.

The state suit claims under Cornwell's direction, a male student groped Hagelman above and beneath her clothes during a romance rehearsal held behind locked doors. Hagelman attended Bowie from 2010 to 2014.

In another romance rehearsal, the lawsuit described Cornwell directing Havlin and a male student to simulate sex, with open-mouth kissing. Havlin attended Bowie from 2011 to 2015.

The lawsuit also described Cornwell instructing Haddad and her scene partner to roll around on the floor and make out, which resulted in the male partner groping Haddad. Haddad attended Bowie from 2009 to 2013.

KVUE reached out to Cornwell for a comment. She stated she has not been served with this lawsuit yet.

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