FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The victim of last year's vicious beating at Deerfield Beach Middle School filed a negligence lawsuit today against the Broward School District, alleging that the March 17 attack could have been prevented with adequate security.
Sean Domnick, the lawyer representing Josie Lou Ratley, 16, said she suffered permanent injuries and brain damage when she was assaulted at a campus bus stop last March 17. Her assailant, Wayne Treacy, 16, has been charged as an adult with first-degree attempted murder and faces a maximum sentence of 50 years if convicted.
The lawsuit states that Treacy, a student at Deerfield Beach High School, "openly walked onto the grounds of Deerfield Middle School. No one from the school noticed him, stopped him or otherwise made an effort to prevent him from unauthorized entry on the school grounds."
It says no authority figure stopped Treacy from attacking Ratley and stomping on her head until the attack was well underway.
The school was negligent, the lawsuit says, in "failing to have adequate security… failing to take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorized entry on school ground… [and] failing to adequately supervise the bus pick up area."
Treacy's lawyer, Russell Williams, has repeatedly indicated the boy's mental health will be part of his defense. The assault took place several hours after a text message exchange during which Treacy reportedly believed Ratley mocked the death of Treacy's brother, who had committed suicide a few months earlier.
Prosecutors also filed an attempted murder charge against Kayla Manson, now 14, who is accused of identifying Ratley for Treacy when he arrived at the Deerfield Beach Middle School campus. Manson has been charged as a juvenile.
Broward schools spokeswoman Nadine Drew said the district will not comment on pending litigation.
Ratley is actually the second person tied to the case to sue the school district. Treacy filed a lawsuit in early December claiming the district and the Broward Sheriff's Office were shortchanging him out of an education as he sits in jail awaiting trial.
Copyright © 2011, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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