Missouri School Sued for Neglect and Expulsion of Alleged Rape Victim

The Republic School District has been accused of failing to protect a middle school girl from a male classmate who sexually assaulted and raped her, the lawsuit filed against the Missouri District alleges.

The suit claims that the victim, a special education student, informed school officials about the assault that happened during the 2008-2009 school year but they did not believe her and she recanted.

The lawsuit, filed on July 5, also claimed that school officials, without permission from her mother, forced the girl to write and hand deliver a letter of apology to the boy. She was then expelled for the remainder of the 2008-2009 school year and referred to juvenile authorities for filing a false report.

The suit said, “School Officials, although mandatory reporters under Missouri’s Child Abuse Reporting Law, failed to report [the girl’s] complaints to the Division of Family Services or to Greene County Juvenile Authorities.”

The middle school student was permitted to return the following school year. However, the boy continued to assault and harass her. The suit alleged that she did not tell school officials because she was afraid they would not believe her and would get kicked out of school again.

According to the suit, in February 2010 the boy forcibly raped the girl a second time in the back of the school library. The lawsuit claims that the girl’s mother took her to the Child Advocacy Center to be examined after the school expressed doubt of the reported rape. The exam showed that a sexual assault did occur and the DNA found on the girl matched that of the accused boy.

“School Officials acted recklessly in conscious disregard of and with deliberate indifference to the risk of [the girl’s] safety by failing to conduct an investigation into her allegations of rape and sexual assault, by suspending her from school, and by failing to provide her with any protection from her rapist,” the suit says.

The suit also alleged that when the school interviewed the girl in 2008-09, it did not look at her school file, which contained a psychological report clearly indicating that the girl “was conflict adverse, behaviorally passive and ‘would forego her own needs and wishes to satisfy the request of others around so she can be accepted.”

The boy was taken into custody in Juvenile Court and pleaded guilty to the charges. However, specific charges have not been listed in the suit.

The Republic School District filed a 19-page response July 29. District lawyers, Celynda Brasher and Michelle Basi, wrote –

“[The] Plaintiff’s claims against the District are frivolous, and have no basis in fact or law. Therefore, the District Defendants are entitled to an award of their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”

The response accuses the girl of neglecting to use proper means to protect herself and alleges that any damages endured “were as a result of the negligence, carelessness, or conduct of third parties over whom the District Defendants had neither control nor the right to control.”

The Christian Post’s request to the Republic School District for comment on the lawsuit has not been returned at the time of press.

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