LEE’S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -- A day after the resignation of its superintendent, the Lee’s Summit School District is back in the spotlight with a civil lawsuit filed against the district claiming officials failed to act after a middle school student said she was raped.
District officials told KCTV5 News they are aware of the lawsuit, which names several employees at one of its middle schools, board members and the former superintendent.
They also said they are prepared to defend themselves and employees in court.
The suit was filed three weeks ago by attorneys at Humphrey, Farrington and McClain. Attorney Michael Kilgore explained the suit alleges that the then 14-year-old student, referred to as Jane Doe, was taken into the boy’s bathroom by a male student at Bernard Campbell Middle School, raped and sodomized in December 2017.
The suit goes on to claim that the Lee’s Summit School District and more than a dozen of its employees failed to report the assault and then retaliated against the student who made the claim she was assaulted.
Kilgore claims that school officials told the girl she “got herself raped,” that “it was her fault” and “it was all in her head” and she could get over it if she would “face her fears,” all responses the attorney says that further traumatized the girl.
“She from day one has told the adults in her life that this contact was not consensual,” Kilgore told KCTV5 News. “These adults in the school system have a responsibility to react.”
Lee’s Summit police say a criminal report was filed and forwarded to prosecutors at the time of the incident, but charges were not filed.
The school district disputes many of the factual allegations, and officials say they will defend they district and its employees in court.
The district disputes many of the factual allegations in this lawsuit. Due to student privacy laws though, the District cannot give its account of what happened in a news release. Instead, the district will defend itself and its employees in court.
Some parents in the district, like middle school parent Courtney Tyler, were shocked by the allegations in the lawsuit.
“I don’t care what you say, the victim has problems or issues. They’re a victim,” Tyler said. “If they say something like that happened, then your response is immediate you take action.”
Lawyers for Jane Doe are asking for more than $15,000 in punitive damages but say this is ultimately about accountability, with attorney Jonathan Soper telling KCTV5 News they want, “ultimately to hold them responsible in a way that not only compensates her for what’s been taken from her but also to ensure and help protect other who might be in a similar situation.”
The school district told KCTV5 News it can’t give any more information because the law protects the confidentiality of student’s records but did note that if the parent in the lawsuit gives consent district officials can talk about the lawsuit in more specific details.