The lawsuit was filed on Monday in Federal court by a Northeast High School student and her mother. The lawsuit names seven male students, who were charged with rape in January.
The alleged rape took place in mid-January, and the seven male students had the charges dropped approximately three weeks later, by the Macon police department. The lawsuit that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, referring to the 16 year-old student as Jane Doe II, to protect her privacy. The suit claims she was subjected to sexual harassment under federal Title IX law. This law prohibits discrimination by sex in education programs and activities. Sexual violence, like rape or sexual assault under Title IX is a form of discrimination.
Attorney Jerry Lumley said his clients 14th Amendment rights were violated and said the school system failed her.
In the lawsuit, it is claimed the school system was “deliberately indifferent to the harassment and failed to act appropriately.” He said there were at least two other cases of sexual violence, during the last decade that the school overlooked.
Lumley said they are looking out for his client and ensure the failures that have taken place are remedied.
The lawsuit states, that even though Jane Doe II was sixteen at the time of the assault, her mental age was approximately nine years-old. She suffers from an intellectual delay, has a long history of problematic anxiety and suffers from schizophrenia.
Her lawyers content that given her mental capacity; Jane Doe II could not have consented to any sexual acts. Bibb County School spokesman Donald Porter said that it is a policy of the school not to comment publicly on for the duration of lawsuits.
The student and her mother, known as Jane Doe I, are seeking compensation in the lawsuit, for the lost educational opportunities, emotional, physical and mental injuries to the student, due to the alleged actions of the seven male students and school system. Lost income for Jane Doe I, is also included in the claim and attorneys fees. Jane Doe I and Jane Doe II are seeking a jury trial in the case.
According to the lawsuit, Jane Doe II was trapped by at least five males in a school bathroom, where she was “brutally raped and sodomized.” The claim states a teacher, who had started working at the Northeast school, was told by one boy that another teacher requested to see the girl. This was a common practice in the school, allowing students to leave with other students at the request of another teacher.
The teacher identified in documents as Ms. Brown, was not provided any training or guidance, about student safety, as is consistent with the school districts policy. Seven students between the ages of 14 to 18 were charged by the Macon police with rape of the 16 year-old student in the school bathroom on January 19th. The charges were later dropped on February, when police determined there were inconsistencies in the girl’s story. Police later charged Jane Doe II with making false statements and reporting a false crime to authorities.
<h2>Another attorney for Jane Doe II, Brad Wilson said police questioned the girl in February, without her mother being present or legal counsel.</h2>
Lumley said the charges against the male students should not have been dropped, though it is not an issue in the civil lawsuit.
Bibb County District Attorney Greg Winters has not commented on the dismissal of the charges against the seven males, stating that he cannot comment, due to the pending criminal case against the, then 16 year old girl.
The claim states the system failed, alleging the boys involved in the incident were members of a gang known as “Money over Bitches.” Some of the boys involved have previous criminal records for felony theft, and according to the code of conduct at Northwest, they should not have been permitted to attend the school.
The court documents state that at the time, the school failed to take disciplinary action against the boys, they attempted to expel Jane Doe II, alleging she “engaged in/or had knowledge of sexual misconduct on campus.” Her lawyers stated, school officials dropped the disciplinary action against the 16 year-old, after they did not “determine” she engaged in the conduct that she had been charged with, by the School District. Her lawyers said, if she had been involved, it would have been related to her disability.
Lumley said that this is not the first case of sexual violence against a female student at Northeast, and she was denied equal access to the school’s resources, because of the incidence. He said there have been at least two other incidences, since 2002 involving sexual violence against a female student.
The attorney said Jane Doe II is now receiving instruction at home, by a Bibb County school staff member. The lawsuit states that, even though the school was aware of the sexual harassment of female students, by male students prior to January 19, 2012 the School District’s actions were uninterested and failed to act appropriately.
The suit states, in April 2002 a female student was raped and sodomized in the restroom, by three male students. Then in 2008 another female student, who was mentally disabled was raped by a male student in a classroom. In this incident, the school board agreed to a $67,000 settlement, two month prior to the January incident, involving Jane Doe II at Northeast.
In the 2008 case, in which the school board settled, authorities said the 16 year-old girl was raped in the computer lab in May of 2008, by Northeast High School student Ikeia Phillips. Phillips pled guilty to assaulting the female student, with the intent to rape her, he was sentenced to seven years in prison. Lumley said, he believes Jane Doe II has been failed in many ways and they are going to attempt righting what he believes are the horrible wrongs.