School Allegedly Uses Girl As ‘Bait’ For Sexual Predator, Leading To Her Rape

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

A lawsuit has been filed against an Alabama middle school that accuses teachers and administrators of directing a girl to put herself into a dangerous situation in order to “catch” her predator in the act. Instead of protecting her, they abandoned her to be sexually assaulted.

The middle school allegedly tried to use a young student as “bait” for an older student who was suspected of being a sexual predator. After forcing the girl to lure him into the bathroom, the teacher in charge of this amateur (and highly illegal) sting operation left the school for the day, leaving the student alone with the boy who proceeded to rape her.

The boy’s threat of violence and sexual assault was not unknown to school staff. According to CNN:

“School administrators knew the student’s extensive history of sexual and violent misconduct and were alerted to the substantial risk he posed” to other students, according to the brief.

About a week before the alleged rape, Sparkman Middle School vice principals Jeanne Dunaway and Teresa Terrell received a complaint that the boy had touched a female student inappropriately and was assigned in-school suspension, according to federal attorneys.

A few days later, June Simpson, a teacher’s aide at the Huntsville-area school, told the principal, Ronnie Blair, that the boy had “repeatedly tried to convince girls to have sex with him in the boys’ bathroom on the special needs students’ corridor” and had actually had sex with one student, according to the brief.

The school did nearly everything wrong upon learning that a girl was being continually sexually harassed by this boy. According to a lawsuit, rather than move immediately to put an end to the victimization, the girl’s teacher set up an elaborate sting operation to “catch him in the act.” This involved asking the girl, who is described as having special needs, to lure her attacker into a school bathroom while her teacher watched from a distance. “Don’t do anything. Just get him to meet you and we’ll catch him,” the teacher allegedly instructed the student.

According to police records, the teacher even told school administration about her plan, and while they didn’t actively encourage it, they also didn’t tell her no.

Unfortunately, the terrible plan was even more poorly executed. The teacher said she watched the bathroom for a while during the agreed upon time, but didn’t see the girl or the boy enter so she simply shrugged and left school. Meanwhile, the girl had gone to a different bathroom and while in there, she was assaulted by the boy.

A doctor confirmed that the girl showed signs of having been raped, but the teacher felt no responsibility for what happened. The school even tried to defend itself by saying the student probably consented to the sex, despite the clear evidence that she had approached a teacher beforehand and asked for help.

Having been informed that the girl was assaulted, the school still did nothing. According to CNN, Dunaway testified that the girl “was responsible for herself once she entered the bathroom.” It was her fault because she put herself in that bathroom. The place, if you recall, she was only in because the teacher had told her to go there or the harassment wouldn’t stop.

Amazingly, not only did the “sting operation” backfire and lead to further victimization, the school didn’t see anything wrong with what had happened. The girl dropped out of the school and her family eventually moved out of the state, but the boy was hardly punished.

According to AL.com, the school downplayed the incident in their records. The file for that day simply reads: “Inappropriate touching a female in boys bathroom.” There was no mention of the rape allegations or the sting operation. Consequently, he was sent to another school for a short while and then allowed to return. He was never brought up on charges, although he did get in-school suspension.

“As I recall, nothing could be proven in that situation either,” [Principal Ronnie] Blair said in the deposition. “As the investigation continued, we — (assistant principal Teresa) Terrell and I met the next morning, I believe it was the next morning, and met with his mom and decided at that point, just with the drama that was surrounding him with this girl, that girl, boyfriend/girlfriend stuff, that it would be best if we placed him in AAP, in-school suspension, for a period of time. Not as discipline for him, but as a precautionary measure. And mom, of course, agreed. Otherwise, we would not have placed him in the program.”

Yeah, kids and their drama. Who can know for sure what happened, as long as you ignore what the girl is telling you and what the medical doctor is confirming.

When it was clear that the school was not only criminally negligible, but quite possibly criminally responsible for their daughter’s rape, but couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it, the family finally brought up the lawsuit. Initially the suit was dismissed, but Department of Justice recently demanded that it be approached again, arguing that the dismissal was a “mistake.”

Seriously, can nothing go right for this girl and her much-deserved bid for justice? The cards, already stacked against her, seem further hindered by ineptitude and apathy.