In a lawsuit, a mother claims a Utah school ignored her son's allegations of sexual assault from a principal.
Sexual assault is a growing issue around the nation, especially as it pertains to child cases. What’s more disturbing about this rise in abuse is that it is happening at the school level more and more. This past school year, a major focus for these horrific cases focused not exactly on the incidents themselves, but on the appalling fact that many of the accusations were brushed off by school officials. This may be the case in a recent report in which a parent’s plea with school officials that her son may have been sexually assaulted was brushed off and completely ignored.
According to the extensive report detailed by The Salt Lake Tribune, a Utah school kindergartner went to his mom and told her of the sexual assault, which was said to have occurred by the school principal one day after school in his office. Concerned, the student’s mother went to at least four different school officials to alert them. She claims that each one of them dismissed the claims. What’s more, the mother stated that the school retaliated against the boy afterward. Years later now, the claims are finally being heard in a U.S. District Court under a lawsuit that was filed last week against the Park City School District, and its current principal who remains in his position.
The sexual assault claims stem back to a day when the four-year-old came to his mother with a claim that his principal brought him into his office, and asked him to pull down his own pants. After that, the boy told his mother that the principal touched him. Completely stunned, the mother asked the boy to repeat what he had told her, part of which she recorded and is now proof of the allegations in the lawsuit.
Afterward, the mother took swift action, and alerted the school about the sexual assault, with the recording as proof. The mother spoke with the school’s nurse, psychologist, director of special education ( the student was diagnosed with learning disorders), and the principal accused of the abuse himself. Each of them disregarded her claims. The mother recounted how they told her the boy was making things up because of his “vivid imagination.”
After coming forth with her pleas about sexual assault, the environment at school worsened for her son, and the mother is sure that it was in part because school officials were punishing the boy for his report of abuse. The lawsuit claims that the boy was being bullied because of his learning disabilities, and the school failed to address the situation. On top of that, the school abruptly cut some of his special education services the next year, despite still needing them to thrive.
What might be the most disturbing, however, in this sexual assault case is how the school responded. Not only did the school officials dismiss the mother and son’s claims, but they also failed to report it, which is a breach of state law. Authorities were not alerted about the claims until years later when the boy again recounted the incident to a doctor who promptly reported it.
Unfortunately, this incident isn’t the first time a school failed to follow procedure and report sexual assault allegations from a student. Likewise, and unfortunately, it also won’t be the last time. For now, the accused principal remains in his position, and the school is under more scrutiny than ever as the attorney representing the case says there may be more instances like this within the district.