A federal lawsuit has been filed against the Abington School District for what the plaintiff alleges is the district’s complicity in creating the environment that allowed a 15-year-old female student to be raped on school grounds.
The alleged assailant was well-known to the victim as well as the school’s administration, as he had been harassing and stalking her since the two attended the same junior high school. When the student’s relentless pursuit of the victim then followed to the senior high school level, the plaintiff alleges that the district turned a “bind eye” to his behavior as part of a “pervasive culture of inappropriate sexual behavior that eventually culminated in sexual assault and rape.”
The student’s assailant, according to the lawsuit, had been harassing her, groping her, and physically assaulting her since the 2015-2016 school year, or her year of the seventh grade. The assailant used her race, disability, sex, and sexual orientation to hurl nearly constant slurs at her, including those that were homophobic in nature. Having been allowed to go on for years, the male student’s behavior had been observed by students and faculty alike, yet no one rose to action.
The male assailant’s actions are not limited merely to the conjecture and accusations of one person against another. In an incident captured on camera, the assailant made advances toward the victim. When those advances were refused, he punched her in the stomach.
By 2017, the school district was giving assurances to the victim’s family that measures were being taken to protect their daughter. But in 2018, according to the lawsuit, she was sexually assaulted by that same student in one of the school’s stairwells.
The family’s lawsuit seeks financial compensation for the years of abuse their daughter has had to endure that ultimately led to an event that left her with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. As said by the family’s attorney, “Abington really disregarded their obligation to all students, you could say, but in this particular case, they were aware of problems, and they made promises to the family to protect her and they disregarded those promises and their obligation. It should never have happened.”