Society

Family Claims Seattle School District Doesn't Investigate Rapes of Students (Video)

| by Michael Allen

A 15-year-old girl claimed that she was raped by a male classmate in November 2012 during an overnight school trip at the Olympic National Park in Seattle, Wash.

The girl originally said the boy had got into her bunk at night, but later admitted that she and some other girls had sneaked into the boys' cabin where the crime allegedly occurred.

The unidentified teen reported the rape, the FBI and the National Park Service investigated the alleged crime, but the boy claimed the sex was consensual and witnesses gave different versions of what happened, reports King 5 (video below).

"There was no doubt that he raped our daughter," the girl's mother told MyNorthwest.com. "He admitted even to the principal, even when he rolled in with the bus, that our daughter told him to stop, and we know that from the district's own investigation."

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Ultimately, there was a federal investigation, but the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle did not believe there was enough evidence to file charges against the suspect.

"Our daughter sustained a devastating, life-scarring trauma which has completely demolished our family life," added the teen's mom. "These are very difficult things to prosecute, but that doesn't mean that a rape didn't occur. And we have that written from the Chief Ranger who was overseeing the investigation."

The girl's mother says that a school district investigation into the rape didn't begin for almost six months and didn't protect her teen from harassment at Garfield High School.

The teen's family filed public records requests, which they claim show the Seattle School District was ignorant of, or ignored, the federal Title IX law, which requires schools (that get federal funds) to quickly investigate sexual assaults and provide protection for the victim.

"There have been numerous cases of sexual assault in the Seattle School District," the mom told MyNorthwest.com. "Victims have come forward and reported their assaults to us. But the Title IX officer never fulfilled his duty to investigate those."

According to the Seattle Times, the Seattle School District claims it delayed its investigation until the U.S. Attorney's office completed theirs, and says the FBI and National Park Service would not share all the evidence.

The teen's family has filed over 200 complaints that claim school officials have lied to them, but the Seattle School District says those statements were not actually lies, but rather miscommunication or incomplete information.

The teen's family has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, which started investigating the Seattle School District in July.

The teen's family also formed a the "Stop Sexual Assault in High School" group, which protested Wednesday's school board meeting (video below).

Seattle School District Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland stated in a letter this week:

The incident reported after a 2012 Garfield High School field trip is of concern to us all. We would each be deeply shaken if our child was involved in such an incident. While we cannot undo that event, we can learn from it and take steps to increase the safety for our students.

We will continue to work together to support student safety both on and off school grounds. We support Ted Howard in his leadership as principal of Garfield High School.

Sources: Seattle Times, King 5, MyNorthwest.com