(CN) – The mother of a North Carolina middle school student says in court that four eighth-grade boys sexually assaulted her son during an overnight school field trip, and teachers who discovered the assault did nothing.
Erwin Middle School and the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education took students to the Trinity Center for a Sound to Sea program in October 2010, according to the complaint in Rowan County Superior Court.
Since the boy suffers from a mild disability, his father supplied the school with an EpiPen, an asthma inhaler and Benadryl for bee stings, the mother claims.
Teacher Franklin File allegedly administered the Benadryl on the second day of the trip, however, because the boy complained of a headache. That night, “in a heavy sleep induced by Benadryl,” four other students in the same cabin spit on the boy and passed gas in his face, according to the complaint. At least one allegedly put his penis in or around the boy’s mouth and pretended to ejaculate him.
He woke up briefly during the alleged assault, the compliant states.
Assistant principal and chaperone Carl Snider interviewed the boys in the cabin and found out the full details of the incident, according to the lawsuit. But when he called the boy’s father the next morning, he allegedly said only that “some students participated in a ‘prank’ and drew genitalia” on the boy’s face.
Upon returning home, Joe Van Miller, a teacher who also chaperoned the field trip, told the student’s mother that some boys had spit on him and “passed gas in his face,” the lawsuit alleges. Miller also allegedly hid full details of the incident from the boy’s parents.
But the mother says she took the boy to the hospital when he told her “that other students said he must be gay” after hearing what had happened.
A doctor from Salisbury Pediatric Associates discovered the “evidence of sexual assault” and found that the boy was “significantly traumatized by the events and his future is at great risk,” his mother claims. A doctor from Salisbury Pediatric Associates found that he was “significantly traumatized by the events and his future is at great risk,” his mother claims.
The school suspended the boy’s alleged attackers for five days and then let them return to finish the year with the boy they had assaulted, the lawsuit states.
Hospital personnel reported the incident to law enforcement, leading to an investigation that resulted in “prosecution, please and adjudication of each of the minor defendants of various offenses associated with the sexual assault,” according to the complaint.
Hughes seeks $40 million and an injunction that will protect her son for his remaining time in the Rowan-Salisbury school system.
She is suing the school board, the three aforementioned chaperones and the four alleged attackers for sexual assault and battery, negligence and emotional distress.
Trinity Center is not named as a defendant.
Hughes is represented by Richard Reamer of Kluttz Reamer in Salisbury.