A former Trotwood-Madison High School student and her parents are suing two boys, their parents, the school district, three current or former administrators and a teacher in district court because they claim one boy raped the girl and another boy subjected her to sexual battery in a school storage closet in November 2011.
The suit also said the teacher the girl first told about the incident did not immediately report it to the police.
The case was investigated at the time by Trotwood police. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office declined to press charges due to “insufficient evidence.” Police reports about the incident show the girl was interviewed and at first said she never said “no” during the alleged activity, only that she didn’t want to do it at school. One boy told police the sexual activity was consensual and that they never held her in the closet against her will.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys Richard Boucher and Julia Kolber said the teachers’ immediate inaction meant that she wasn’t taken to a hospital to utilize any rape kit examination and that neither children’s services nor police were notified the day of the incident on Nov. 16, 2011. Police collected the girl’s clothing from her home at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 17.
“It is our belief that the reason there was no criminal prosecution is because by the time (she) got to the police, any physical evidence was gone,” Boucher said. “I am of the opinion that had the evidence been properly collected as would have been normal, their decision might have been different. They did not have the benefit of that evidence.”
The plaintiffs’ attorneys also said the girl, 15 years old at the time, was already fearful because the boys — then both 16 — were football players and because of the ridicule she had faced in school by the time she spoke to police officers. Trotwood-Madison’s football team was in the Division II state playoffs at the time and ultimately won a state title that fall.
The suit, filed in United States district court, alleges rape, sexual battery, battery, assault, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence and reckless acts, violation of Title IX, failure to report abuse, loss of consortium, liability of parents for assaults by minor children and violation of due process. The lawsuit asks for at least $975,000 in damages for a dozen causes of action and a claim for relief.
Police reports indicate the teacher talked to the girl after the incident and actually drove her home, but that the teacher did not go straight to police. The teacher later told police that the girl told her “something bad happened to me” and that the boys forced her to have sex with them.
The teacher also said she attempted to contact Trotwood-Madison High School’s principal that evening — leaving two messages — but that the principal did not immediately return the calls.
When asked by police why she didn’t call them, the teacher responded that teachers have been instructed that they are to notify administrators who in turn would contact police. The teacher told the principal about the allegations the morning of Nov. 17, 2011. “That’s blatantly contradictory to the law,” Boucher said.
The lawsuit points to Ohio Revised Code 2151.421, which compels those in an official capacity to immediately report the incident to “public children services agency or a municipal or county peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred.”
The lawsuit also said the teacher did not inform the girl’s parents of the incident, that the boys were removed from one extracurricular activity but not from the football team, that the girl was suspended from school for three days and that the girl was subjected to harassment, embarrassment, bullying and ridicule by classmates for weeks following the incident. The girl’s attorneys said the girl ultimately changed schools.
Several supplemental police records show other students told them that the girl said she was forced and pressured into the sexual activity, that she told them she did say, “No” at first. Later, the girl told police said she was raped. On Jan. 6, 2012, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office informed Trotwood police that it would not be accepting charges “due to lack of evidence.”
Attorney Beverly Meyer, who is representing the Trotwood-Madison city school district, the superintendent and the principal, had no comment on the case. Bernard Wharton, the teacher’s attorney, also declined comment. No attorneys of record have been named for the parents of the boys. The defendants have 60 days from being notified about the case to answer. None have filed answers yet.
Mark Gokavi - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
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