Mother finds Seattle school district ignored ‘numerous’ rapes, including her daughter’s
A Seattle mother who began looking into the Seattle School District after it refused to investigate the alleged rape of her daughter for six months said that she has found “numerous” other sexual assaults that had also been ignored.
A 15-year-old Garfield High School girl told authorities in 2012 that she had been raped by a classmate while they were on a field trip. The boy later told authorities that the girl had asked him to stop having anal sex with her, but he said that he was able to convince her to “roll with it.”
A hospital exam found vaginal trauma, semen streaked in her pubic hair, and in her anus. The hospital diagnosed her with rape trauma syndrome, and her victim advocate at the hospital was quoted as saying that the girl “presented as one who had experienced a rape.”
“I did not pay attention to her that much,” the boy reportedly explained to investigators when he was asked if the victim had said anything during the encounter.
The school contacted authorities, and the district attorney acknowledged that a sexual assault may have taken place. But in the end, the district attorney’s office declined to prosecute because it said that it did not have enough evidence to support her claims.
The mother, who did not want to be identified, told MyNorthwest.com this week that it took the school nearly six months before it began investigating how a girl could have been raped during a field trip.
“There was no doubt that he raped our daughter,” the mother explained. “He admitted even to the principal, even when he rolled in with the bus, that our daughter told him to stop, and we know that from the district’s own investigation.”
“Our daughter sustained a devastating, life-scarring trauma which has completely demolished our family life,” she added. “These are very difficult things to prosecute, but that doesn’t mean that a rape didn’t occur. And we have that written from the Chief Ranger who was overseeing the investigation.”
While spending months pushing the school to investigate what happened, the mother said that she learned that the school had been violating Title IX, which requires educational institutions that receive federal funding to address sexual assaults.
“There have been numerous cases of sexual assault in the Seattle School District,” the mother pointed out. “Victims have come forward and reported their assaults to us. But the Title IX officer never fulfilled his duty to investigate those.”
She said the district appeared to be “ignorant” of the Title IX rules, because the sexual assault files were “completely empty.”
The U.S. Department of Education has launched an investigation into possible Title IX violations by the school district.
“We take the issue of sexual assault seriously and are continuing to work with all parties involved including state and federal agencies and the family to address the concerns that have been raised and ensure that the appropriate legal process is followed,” a district spokesperson said in a statement. “The family has filed complaints with several oversight agencies, and we trust that resolution of those actions will be fair and equitable.”
At a board meeting on Wednesday, Interim Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland asked staff to review sexual harassment and discrimination policies.
Watch the video below from KOMO, broadcast Aug. 20, 2014.
[‘Sad And Lonely Girl Crying With A Hand Covering Her Face’ via Shutterstock]