St. Lucie County family says daughter raped in school

Filed lawsuit in district court

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -  A Treasure Coast mother is suing the St. Lucie County school district claiming her mentally disabled daughter was sexually assaulted at her school, more than once.

Attorneys from Palm Beach Gardens based LaBovick Law group filed the suit Tuesday night in district court, detailing  an allegation of a nightmare scenario, that the victim couldn't fully comprehend.
 
The 16 year-old victim in this case was attending Westwood High School in Fort Pierce last year.  In her class, was a disabled male student who, according to the lawsuit,  had been kicked out of more than one high school for a history of sexually aggressive behavior.

Despite that, the suit claims teachers encouraged the students to become a couple so as to more easily control them.

At some point, the male student  allegedly figured out how he could take the victim away from the classroom and into an unsupervised area in order to perform sexual acts on her or for her to perform sexual activity on him.

"She just doesn't have the capacity to say no. And a 7-year-old mentality put in the same room as a sexual predator is just incredible," said attorney Joe Fields.
 
The suit claims that during one sex act, the girl got sick and spit up on her shirt.  After the teacher discovered what had happened, she allegedly  told the girl to throw out her shirt.  But the girl put it in her backpack and took it home. 

In another alleged incident the boy took the girl behind the cafeteria to engage in a sexual encounter that lasted at least an hour.
 
"It's a lack of supervision, a lack of training.  Violation of the child's constitutional rights.  Violation of federal laws regarding educating children with special needs," said Fields.
 
Attorneys say the victim was even thrown out of school for a time before it could be determined what was happening. The girl is now back in the school system.  Attorneys are thankful she could at least explain what was happening to her.
 
"There are children that simply don't have the capacity to do that. I think our client is hoping to make some serious changes in how the school system up there handles these types of cases," said Fields.
 
The LaBovick Law group provided a heavily redacted report from the Department of Children and Families that found allegations of inadequate supervision were not substantiated. 

A report filed by a school resource deputy on one of the incidents said that because there was no actual penetration and that this was a consensual encounter, no criminal charges were going to be pursued.

A spokeswoman with the St. Lucie County School District said the district can not comment on pending litigation.

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