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Idaho State softball coach files lawsuit after being fired for offering to adopt player's baby

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 12/9/2022 Hope Sloop For Dailymail.Com

A former Idaho State University assistant softball coach is suing the college over claims she was fired when she offered to adopt the baby of a player who wanted to keep her pregnancy a secret from her parents. 

Jamie Wiggins, 38, filed the lawsuit in Idaho last month, alleging that school officials violated her First Amendment rights and protections as a public employee.

The documents also accuse the school of violating her right to freely express her religion as she believed it was her Christian duty to adopt the baby boy - who died less than three months after he was born from health complications.  

Wiggins is now seeking damages for lost wages and the emotional distress the situation has caused herself and family. 

Jamie Wiggins, 38, claims she was let go by Idaho State University over he decision to adopt the baby of a player who had an unplanned pregnancy  © Provided by Daily Mail Jamie Wiggins, 38, claims she was let go by Idaho State University over he decision to adopt the baby of a player who had an unplanned pregnancy  Wiggins worked at the school as a softball coach on a 10-month contract  © Provided by Daily Mail Wiggins worked at the school as a softball coach on a 10-month contract 

The former coach said she had approached the young girl on May 1 after hearing a rumor about the student's pregnancy. 

The young woman initially denied she was pregnant, but admitted it a week later - and at that point asked Wiggins for help, the coach claims. 

On May 10, after the student was told she would need to be induced into labor, the girl asked Wiggins if she and Greg would adopt the boy. 

They agreed but the baby, who was born prematurely that day, remained in the hospital until July 28 when he died from complications. 

'The decision of plaintiff and her husband Greg Wiggins to offer to adopt the baby was an exercise of their Christian faith,' court documents say. 

'Plaintiff's religious beliefs dictate the care of orphans in their distress when called upon, with a recognition of harsh consequences for not doing so,' documents continue. 

In the lawsuit, Wiggins says that she and her husband had a duty as Christians to adopt the baby © Provided by Daily Mail In the lawsuit, Wiggins says that she and her husband had a duty as Christians to adopt the baby

The woman and her legal team claim she stood by the student's decision to not tell her parents, despite pushback by the athletic director and the dean.

'While the Wiggins hoped that the birth mother would tell her parents, they respected her autonomy to make this difficult decision on her own without interference or coercion,' the documents read. 

Wiggins claims she was threatened with the loss of her job during a May 17 meeting but that she refused to back down or withdraw her offer to adopt the baby. 

She said she had met with the team's head coach to discuss her plans for the team, including a recruitment outline and her future role with the team - but was let go shortly after. 

Wiggins claims officials also told her at the time it was her decision to adopt the baby that led to her contract not being renewed.

In a statement, the school said they have a 'duty to intervene in actual or perceived conflicts of interest' and that is what caused them to not renew Wiggins' contract © Provided by Daily Mail In a statement, the school said they have a 'duty to intervene in actual or perceived conflicts of interest' and that is what caused them to not renew Wiggins' contract

In a statement to EastIdahoNews.com, school officials said: 'The university CARES team, a group of university professionals trained to assess the needs of students and determine how to support them, regularly convenes to provide guidance in an emergency situation and determine whether there is an immediate threat of harm to a student's physical or emotional health.

'This team is well-equipped to marshal university resources in support of pregnant students and new parents. 

'The University CARES team was very involved in this matter.' 

Wiggins is seeking damages over lost wages and emotional stress caused by the situation © Provided by Daily Mail Wiggins is seeking damages over lost wages and emotional stress caused by the situation 'The university always has the best interests of the student as its sole motivation' the school said in a statement to EastIdahoNews.com © Provided by Daily Mail 'The university always has the best interests of the student as its sole motivation' the school said in a statement to EastIdahoNews.com

The statement continued: ''Given the context and facts of this situation and the university's duty to intervene in actual or perceived conflicts of interest between students and authority figures, when the plaintiff's contract expired, the university chose not to renew the plaintiff's one-year contract for another year.

'The university always has the best interests of the student as its sole motivation. Any allegation that the university's actions were motivated by other reasons is patently false. The university stands by its decision and plans to vigorously defend against this litigation.'

DailyMail.com reached out to Wiggins' legal team and Idaho State University officials for further comment but did not hear back by time of publication. 

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