Lawsuit Criticizes Bibb Schools' Handling of Rape Case | Education
Title (Max 100 Characters)
Bibb County schools tried to expel a 16-year-old special-needs student who was gang raped, but did not discipline the youths who assaulted her, a lawsuit says.
The suit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Macon on behalf of the student -- identified only as Jane Doe II -- and her mother, listed as Jane Doe I.
It concerns an alleged rape at Northeast High School in Macon on Jan. 19, 2011.
The lawsuit criticizes the school districts' policies at the time of the rape, saying Bibb schools failed to properly train teachers in safety, did not react to sexual harassment in the schools and failed to properly discipline students.
Last year, Macon police initially charged seven Northeast High School students with raping the girl, then dropped charges several weeks later.
Police said the alleged victim admitted falsifying the report that she was raped. She was charged as a juvenile with falsely reporting a crime and making false statements to law enforcement.
At a news conference, Macon police said the girl had sex with several students in a restroom, but it was consensual.
The lawsuit filed Monday said the girl had a history of mental and emotional disorders and had a mental age of 9 at the time of the rape.
Since the alleged rape, she had left the school and is being educated at home, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit says one boy came to the girl's classroom, told a teacher that another teacher needed Jane Doe II.
He took her to the men's room, where several youths raped and sodomized her, the suit says. They were allegedly members of the MOB Gang -- meaning "Money over Bitches."
The lawsuit claims the youths were never disciplined even after admitting having sex in the men's room.
However, the district tried to expel the girl because she "engaged in/or had knowledge of sexual misconduct on campus."
The lawsuit seeks damages, including compensation for medical bills and educational costs.
Donnie Porter, Director of Communications with the Bibb School District told 13WMAZ, "It is the long-standing policy of the Bibb County School District to refrain from publicly commenting on pending lawsuits. The District reaffirms its commitment to doing everything within its power to keep our schools safe places for learning."
13WMAZ talked to one of the family's attorney, Jerry Lumley about the lawsuit.
He described the alleged victim, she is named Jane Doe II in the lawsuit, as a "sweet" and "shy." He said that she has the intellectual capacity of a nine-year-old and had great anxiety because of her mental conditions.
"She is incredibly sweet but she's also incredibly shy and she has become even more withdrawn, withdrawn to the extent that sometimes she won't leave her house, she won't leave her room," said Lumley. "She's having to get psychiatric treatment for the injuries that she's sustained, she's afraid of the public, she's afraid things like this will happen again."
When 13WMAZ asked about what his client told Macon Police nearly a year ago about falsely accusing the young men of rape, this is what Lumley said.
"I have reviewed the tape, the tape of an interview she was given where she was not allowed to have an attorney or her mother present... I don't think, she did not tell the police that, um, I um, think that given her disabilities she was put under a tremendous amount of pressure and should have not been questioned she had already been question by the appropriate authorities and there was no need for further questioning," said Lumley.
Lumley told 13WMAZ neither he nor the family could put a price on the damages, but a jury can.
"We feel that it's best for that to be decided by a jury, we want the members of the community to decide what would be the appropriate measure of damages in this case," said Lumley. "This is a case that's going to call on the community to exercise it's conscience on what's right."
No hearing date has been set.