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Former student filed paternity claim against former Miller superintendent

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MILLER — The abrupt departure of Michael Ruth as superintendent for the Miller School District earlier this month came just weeks after a former student brought a paternity lawsuit against him in Hand County court.

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Circuit Judge Jon Erickson has ordered Ruth to submit to paternity testing, according to a court notice filed Monday.

Jacqueline Maria St. John said in a sworn statement that she met Ruth, a Mitchell native, when he was superintendent at Miller High School.

"We began a sexual relationship after I graduated high school, and I conceived a child as a result," she said.

St. John said in her Feb. 17 affidavit that she told Ruth he was the father but he denied and refused testing. She said Ruth wasn't present when the daughter was born Jan. 7, 2013.

She said her boyfriend at that time signed the statement of paternity but he isn't the father. She said Ruth hasn't asked to visit the child and he hasn't provided any money for the medical expenses or financial assistance.

St. John's lawyer, Michele Munson, of Sioux Falls, is asking the judge to order that the father's name be changed on the birth certificate and that past and future child support be awarded.

Ruth is represented by attorney Kent Shelton, of Huron. Shelton hasn't filed any responses on Ruth's behalf. Judge Erickson said in his testing order that Ruth indicated through his attorney that he had no objection to the judge signing the order.

The Miller school board held a special meeting March 3 and after a 41-minute executive session accepted Ruth's resignation to take effect immediately.

Ruth was a member of the board of directors for the South Dakota High School Activities Association. The board accepted his resignation after an executive session at the association's March 5 meeting. Ruth didn't attend the meeting.

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