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Missouri school district sued over alleged sexual misconduct

Missouri school district sued over alleged sexual misconduct

November 24th, 2017 by Associated Press in Missouri News

MONETT (AP) — A southwest Missouri father has filed a lawsuit alleging his daughter was sexually assaulted by a classmate on a school bus trip a year ago.

The lawsuit alleges Monett School District and Monett High School officials didn't report the assault to law enforcement and didn't protect the alleged victim, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

Superintendent Brad Hanson said he's not yet aware of whether or not the incident was reported to authorities. The Missouri Safe Schools Act requires that sexual assaults be reported to the local law enforcement agency.

The incident reportedly took place in November 2016 when high school students were returning from a St. Louis sporting event. The lawsuit said a male student touched the female student's breasts, legs and genitals without her consent.

The female student waited two months to report the incident because she was afraid, the lawsuit said. The girl developed anxiety, was afraid to go to school, experienced emotional distress and saw a dramatic drop in her grades after the alleged assault, the lawsuit said.

The male student was suspended for three days earlier this year after the girl's father reported the incident to school officials, court documents said. The alleged victim had to continue going to classes with the male student once he returned from the suspension, despite her father inquiring to the school's counselor about changing their schedules, court documents said.

The Missouri Commission on Human Rights issued a "right to sue" letter after the family approached the group in March with their discrimination and harassment complaints.

Ransom Ellis III, an attorney for Hanson, declined to comment to the newspaper.