11-Year-Old Student Accused of Sexual Assault at Pastor Marvin Sapp's Charter School

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

An 11-year-old girl has been removed form Grand Rapids Ellington Academy for Arts and Technology in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after she allegedly sexually assaulted an 8-year-old female student.

On November 4, the fifth grader allegedly attacked the younger student in a school bathroom, which resulted in a 10-day suspension. Grand Rapids police Lt. Pat Merrill said the incident was investigated and referred to prosecutors, who decided not to charge the girl due to her mental limitations.

MLIVE uncovered documents that indicated school leaders and officials had a difficult time establishing what happened because both female students gave opposite reports on the incident and there weren’t any witnesses. 

Parents were not notified of the incident until eight days after the fact, which described only "some alleged inappropriate behavior” in a letter.  

The student’s mother agreed to remove her daughter from the school. "The Academy has taken this investigations very seriously. Staff have been following a strict protocol throughout the investigation, including immediate communications with the parents involved, initiating referrals to child protective services, contact with local authority (GRPD community officer) and involvement of counseling staff,” said Cynthia Springer, CEO and superintendent of the school.

There are only 400 students at the school and it was co-founded by Marvin Sapp, a pastor and gospel singer and his late wife, MaLinda. The school is chartered by Lake Superior State University, and opened in fall of 2012 with 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. Currently, the academy serves preschool through 10th grade students and plans to add 11th and 12th grades in the next two years.

Sources: MLIVE Image via Elizabeth Albert/Flickr