Charter Teacher Accused of Violent Abortion

     PHOENIX (CN) – A charter school teacher raped a student until she became pregnant, then inserted a metal ruler into her in his classroom to abort her, the former student claims in court.
     Jane Doe and her parents sued Horizon Community Learning Center and its former teacher, David Depuydt, on Nov. 20 in Maricopa County Court.
     Horizon Community Learning Center is a K-12 charter school in the Ahwatukee foothills north of Phoenix, with an enrollment of 1,516, according to the school’s website, checked this morning.
     Doe claims she was younger than 15 when Depuydt was her designated supervisor for some or all of a community-service project she was required to perform as a student at Horizon.
     “Depuydt utilized his inherent authority, trust and position as a teacher and community service project supervisor to target Jane Doe based on her gender and subject her to multiple instances of illegal sexual harassment and discrimination,” the lawsuit states.
     She claims that Depuydt repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped her, “including inside a school bathroom and in Depuydt’s classroom.”
     When she told Depuydt he had made her pregnant, and they were alone in his classroom, Doe claims, “for the purpose of performing an abortion, defendant Depuydt repeatedly inserted a metal ruler into Jane Doe until she began to bleed profusely.”
     Depuydt was arrested in August 2013 on 13 counts of sexual conduct with a minor, according to court documents. News outlets reported that he was 27 when he engaged in sex acts with the 15-year-old student.
     A day after his arrest, Betsy Fera, the executive director of Horizon, publicly posted a letter informing the school community of Depuydt’s arrest and that the victim was a student, the lawsuit states.
     “The knowledge that Jane Doe was the sexual assault and rape victim discussed by Ms. Fera quickly spread throughout the students, administration, faculty and staff of the charter school,” according to the complaint.
     As a result, Doe says, she was subjected to sexual harassment by her classmates, and was called a slut and a whore.
     The Does claim that members of the school’s staff saw Depuydt leaving the school bathroom with Jane Doe, leaving school with her, and spending time with her outside of school hours before his arrest.
     “The charter school and its administration failed to take effective action to prevent the sexual harassment and sexual assault of Jane Doe by defendant Depuydt,” the complaint states.
     Horizon declined to comment on the lawsuit.
     Doe claims she suffered such severe emotional distress she attempted suicide.
     “In the middle of the semester, the charter school and its administration decided to transfer Jane Doe to objectively inferior classes with no homework and no letter grades,” the lawsuit states. “This transfer served to reinforce the negative perception of Jane Doe as a victim of sexual assault and harassment,” and she later transferred to another school.
     Depuydt pleaded guilty in August to two counts of sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of attempted sexual conduct with a minor. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and lifetime probation.
     The Does seek punitive damages for civil rights violations, Title IX violations, negligence, negligent supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium.
     They are represented by Jared Everton and Nathaniel Hill, with Jackson White, of Mesa.

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