Mother files lawsuit against school, claims daughter was sexually harassed
A local mother is suing the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township after she claims her daughter was sexually assaulted by two of her classmates.
The woman, who did not want to reveal her identity, tells Fox 59 her daughter is still in fear over the incident five years ago. The family believes the school handled the situation the wrong way.
“She was victimized and victimized and victimized over and over again,” said the victim’s mother. “One boy told her, ‘Just wait. You’re going to get raped.’”
The incidents allegedly happened during class at Eastwood Middle School while a teacher, a student-teacher and other teens there at the time. The victim was 13 years old and in seventh grade at the time.
Court documents stated “one of the boys would reach over the victim’s shoulder and grab, slap or squeeze her breasts, while the other one reached between her legs and put his hands in her groin area.”
“She was being attacked by two people at the same time,” said the teen’s mother. “They would look at her and say, ‘Go.’ There were four hands coming at you and you only had two.”
The teen told her mother it went on for more than a month, before she came forward.
“She was cutting [herself] regularly,” she said. “She’s got lots of scars up and down her wrist. She’s got them on her legs.”
The family decided to call police. The two boys, who were minors, were convicted of battery.
School leaders suspended the male students for three days. The victim’s mother claims her daughter was scrutinized by staff, a police officer, and the two boys and their families all in the same room.
“Unfortunately, she felt like they were treated like the heroes, and she was treated like the bad guy,” said the victim’s mother.
“The school didn’t do anything. The school didn’t kick them out, the school didn’t call the police,” said Tom Blessing, the family’s attorney. “The school system should have been there to say, ‘Anything we can do, we’re here for you. We’re here for your daughter.’ They didn’t and to this day they haven’t.”
The family said they tried keeping their daughter in school to face the problem. By her sophomore year, the teen told her mom she needed help. Her daughter was struggling in school and was also experiencing drugs.
She told a counselor she had attempted suicide twice.
“She was fighting her own internal hell that she was dealing with and she just got to a point where she couldn’t do it any longer,” her mom said.
The family now wants to hold the school accountable. They know this case will open some deep wounds, but this mother says her daughter deserves a second chance.
“I would like to see my daughter go back to who she was before this happened,” said the victim’s mother. “She was happy. She was healthy. She was funny. She just had a bright light in front of her.”
The family’s attorney said the family is seeking damages of up to $700,000 in the case.
Fox 59 tried reaching out to the Washington Township School District today. School officials did not return our calls.