Lawsuit alleges Missouri school expelled girl for making rape claim

By CNN Wire Staff
 

(CNN) -- A lawsuit filed against a Missouri school district alleges that officials failed to protect a female student from repeated sexual assaults from a male student, and at one point expelled her for reporting the alleged attacks.
 

A rape examination proved that the girl was telling the truth, and the male student pleaded guilty to charges related to the attack, the suit alleges.
 

In a response filed in court, the Republic School District in Greene County, Mo., denied the allegations and called the lawsuit "frivolous."
 

The lawsuit, filed in July, alleges that the girl was a special education student at a Missouri middle school in the 2008-2009 school year when she told officials about harassment, sexual assaults and a rape by a male student.
 

School officials told her that her story was not credible, and told her mother that she had recanted the story, the suit alleges.
 

The suit alleges that school officials made the girl write an apology letter and deliver it to the boy -- without consulting with the girl's mother.
 

She was then expelled for the rest of the school year and reported to juvenile authorities for allegedly filing a false crime report.
 

She was allowed to come back to school the next year and her mother urged school officials to protect her from the male student. School officials denied the request, the suit alleges.
 

"During the 2009-2010 school year, (the girl) was terrified that she would be sexually harassed, assaulted , or raped again at school, and was unable to sleep many nights," the suit says.
 

Though she tried to avoid the boy, she was harassed again. She did not report this because she was scared that school officials would not believe her.
 

In February 2010, the same boy grabbed her, dragged her to the back of the school library and raped her again, the suit alleges.
 

"School officials approached (the girl's) claims with the same skepticism as the year before, even going so far as to state that they had 'already been through this,' " the suit states.
 

The girl's mother took her to a child advocacy center that confirmed that a sexual assault occurred and DNA evidence found in the girl matched the male student, the suit alleges.
 

The male student was "taken into custody in Juvenile Court and pleaded guilty to charges brought against him," the suit says.
 

The suit does not state the exact charges the male student allegedly pleaded guilty to.
 

Despite the results of the test, the girl was suspended from school for what the school called "disrespectful conduct" and "public display of affection," the suit claims.
 

School officials did not respond to CNN's attempts to get comments, but the school district released a statement on its website.
 

"It is important to remember that the allegations in a lawsuit are just that -- allegations. The district has filed an answer denying the allegations," part of the statement said. "The district cannot discuss confidential student matters and does not comment on pending litigation."
 

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages, but did not state a specific dollar amount being sought.
 

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