Crime

School Suspends Girl After She Was Sexually Assaulted

| by Sheena Vasani

A Michigan teenager filed a complaint June 7 stating a school suspended her for being lewd after she was sexually assaulted on camera.

In October 2015, an unidentified fourteen-year-old girl complained to Eastern High School officials she had been sexually assaulted, Courthouse News Service reports.

She said at 2 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2015, a 14-year-old boy “had taken her into the stairwell, took his penis out of his pants, masturbated himself, forced her to rub his penis, and attempted to force his penis into her mouth,” the girl later told police, according to Broadly.

Sharon McWilliams, a student services specialist, agreed that the girl "had not consented to the sexual activity," but that she’d also not done enough to fight back.

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She "did not have 'a strong enough no,' she did not 'try to get away,' and she 'did not fight back,'" the complaint alleged that McWilliams said.

"What did you expect me to do, hit him?" the girl responded.

"No, you should not have hit him," McWilliams reportedly replied, "but you could have said to him, 'is that all you've got?'"

"Isn't that right Mr. Stevens, wouldn't that deflate a guy if you said that to him?" the specialist asked Assistant Principal Glenn Stevens, the complaint states.

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Eastern High School then gave the girl a ten-day suspension for "lewd and lascivious behavior,” Broadly reports.

"The school has a policy that students involved in sexual activity are to be suspended, regardless of consent," said Karen Truszkowski, the girl's lawyer, in trying to explain the school’s logic.

It wasn’t until the girl’s boyfriend threatened the boy who assaulted her that the girl’s attacker reported the incident to the police.

Yet although she said she did not give consent, police at that point said to her it didn’t look that way.

Now the school is being taken to court while experts are lashing out.

"Schools have Title IX obligations to investigate promptly when they learn about a sexual assault," said Neena Chaudhry, the director of education and senior counsel with the National Women's Law Center. "It doesn't sound like that's what happened here. It sounds like a lot of things went wrong."

"It sounds like this school needs training for its staff, first and foremost," Chaudhry added. "Blaming the victim, requiring that the victim fight back for it to be considered sexual assault—that's all out of line with what the law says.”

Sources: Courthouse News ServiceBroadly / Photo credit: Lansing School District

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