Superintendent denies statements made in lawsuit over alleged sexual assault incident at Liberty school
The Liberty Schools and two employees are being sued for $2.25 million by the father of a girl who says she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student in the bathroom of Guy Jr. High School.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court alleges that on November 8, 2021, the girl was assaulted by a male student in a second-floor bathroom.
The lawsuit claims that the girl attempted to leave the bathroom, but was pulled back in by the male student.
The suit claims that the girl’s attempt to escape from the bathroom was recorded on a camera in the hallway. However, according to the complaint, school officials erased the video.
The male student allegedly left the girl crying on the bathroom floor.
The alleged assault wasn’t reported to school officials until more than a month later to Guy Jr. High School Principal Michael Palmer and another school employee David Walker, both of whom are named as defendants in the case.
After that, the complaint alleges that the girl became a target of bullying by the male suspect's friends, making it impossible for the girl to receive an education, according to the lawsuit.
The suit, filed by Attorney David Engler, says nothing was done to investigate the alleged assault, and that the girl received no support or counseling. The male student was allowed to remain in school, according to the lawsuit which says a sexually hostile environment was allowed by “deliberate indifference”.
In addition to the alleged erasure of the surveillance video, the complaint cites the inability to lock the bathroom door as a contributing factor to the alleged assault.
Seeking a jury trial, the complaint asks for $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $750,000 in punitive damages.
Liberty Local School District Superintendent, Andrew Tommelleo released a statement regarding the lawsuit on Thursday. The statement reads as follows:
"We believe the evidence shows that statements contained within the lawsuit, regarding Liberty Local Schools' investigation into the matter, are not true. When our district was made aware of the sexual assault allegations, we immediately performed a thorough investigation in cooperation with the Liberty Township Police Department."
"We are confident that as this process moves through the courts the district will have been found to have acted swiftly and appropriately in this case."