School Ignored Sexual Assaults, Parents Say

COLUMBUS, OHIO (CN) – School administrators ignored reports that eighth-grade boys sexually assaulted girls repeatedly on a school bus, allowing the leading bully to force a girl to give him oral sex on the bus – and then suspended the girl for reporting it, the girls’ parents claim in Federal Court.

     The parents claim the leading bully, identified only as M.C., aided by three or four cohorts, sexually assaulted two girls repeatedly on the bus to Finland Middle School in the defendant Southwestern City School District, in Grove City.
     The boys pulled up one girl’s shirt and bra, sexually assaulting her, and the next day they pulled down the other girl’s pants, sexually assaulting her, the parents say.
     The parents say they reported the assaults to the school district, and the girls provided written statements, whereupon Finland Middle School Principal Paul Smathers assured them that the boys had been suspended. The parents say this was not true, and the attacks continued.
     The assaults continued in school and in the bus, the parents say, and the school administrators continued to ignore the girls’ reports.
     On May 8 this year, MC forced one girl to give him oral sex on the bus, “a rape,” the complaint states.
     “Subsequently, Plaintiff was informed that [the girl] was being given a five day suspension because, according to Smathers, an investigation had failed to determine if the incident was forced by M.C. or was consensual,” the complaint states. “The ‘investigation’ was a fraud, during which neither [of the two girls] were questioned about the pattern of conduct leading up to the rape; the administration’s goal was to protect the District from liability for the known sexual assaults and hostile environment.”
     The parents also sued Smathers and his direct supervisor, Director of Secondary Education Joyce Malainy. They demand punitive damages for discrimination and retaliation, and an injunction ordering that the school institute a sexual harassment policy, subject to monitoring and periodic reports.
     Their lead counsel is Michael Garth Moore.

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