Louisiana High School Cleared of Rape Claims

     (CN) — A mother who says her daughter was raped at a Sheraton hotel during an end-of-school party cannot pursue damages from the girl’s high school, a Louisiana appeals court ruled.
     Erica Castle Hayes claimed that her daughter, Unique, was raped in the hotel stairwell in May 2011 during a party hosted by a classmate’s mother.
     Hayes included Warren Easton Senior High School as a defendant in her lawsuit because she claimed that the rape was related to Unique being bullied and harassed at school.
     According to Hayes, the school board knew about the poor treatment of Unique during her freshman year but did nothing to stop it.
     The trial court dismissed the school board from the lawsuit, and the Fourth District Louisiana Court of Appeals affirmed the decision in a May 25 ruling.
     Judge Daniel L. Dysart referred to the deposition of the alleged rapist, who admitted that he knew Unique but had no knowledge that she had been harassed at school.
     Dysart also emphasized the trial judge’s statement that “the principal had no knowledge of this particular person…targeting this young lady.”
     Dysart also noted that, to succeed on her claim, Hayes would have to prove that the attack was foreseeable and that the school “was somehow responsible for a student who was not in its control or custody.”
     “There is simply nothing in the record to support that Warren Easton had a duty to prevent injury to plaintiff’s daughter at a non-school function, off campus, after the end of the school year,” Dysart wrote.
     The ruling does not affect Hayes’ claims against the other defendants, including Sheraton and the mother who hosted the party.

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