The Canton Patch has reported on a complex personal injury lawsuit that pits a family of a special-needs student against a school that failed to supervise and protect their minor child from being sexually assaulted by another special-needs student.
The family's attorney, Michael R. Dorfman, is seeking $1 million from Plymouth-Canton Community Schools to settle the case. He is citing "gross negligence" by both the school district and its employees.
Dorfman, and Patch, have chosen not to release the name of the child, or her mother who filed the suit.
Paperwork has yet to be served to the district but the lawsuit was filed in the Third Circuit Court on November 7. The district will have 21 days to respond to the suit once served, and then a court hearing would come next to decide if the case will be allowed to move ahead.
The girl was 14 at the time of the alleged assault and the boy was 15, per the nearly 20 pages of the legal brief that Dorfman posted online. Allegedly the names of the two students have been posted - and Dorfman claims to be removing them. Dorfman said, "That's an error and we'll get that off right away. It should have been redacted."
The two minors are students at Canton's Discovery Middle School.
Officials for the school district stated, "We are aware of the situation, and have contacted our legal counsel. We are cognizant of state and federal laws that protect our student's rights. Accordingly, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."
Employees of Discovery Middle School named in the suit include director J.W., teacher A.C, assistant principal T.S. and principal R.L.V.
Though the brief outlines several dates of repeated assaults, only one date is at the center of the suit: March 29, 2011. On that particular date, after a teacher had left the classroom the two students, shortly thereafter, also left.
The teacher later discovered the pair in the hall. The girl was pressed up against a wall by the boy's body and she allegedly had placed her hands into his pants.
The two students were suspended.
After the girl's parents questioned her about the incident they allegedly requested that the school conduct an investigation. The legal brief mentions a school report - with portions of it removed.
In a separate case, charges have been filed against the boy for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and assault and battery. The incidents for those alleged assaults occurred between September 2010 to almost the end of March 2011. Fines and jail times would be warranted, though they expect to be lessened as he is a juvenile.
The criminal case is set to be heard on November 28. The boy remains out on bond until then.
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