Most people have probably heard about the sexual assault case in Stubenville, OH where school employees have been implicated in the cover up. Stubenville is just across the border from West Virginia. Now there is a case which has similarities in Delbarton, West Virginia.
State officials in West Virginia have filed a civil rights lawsuit against a middle school, alleging that it covered up the sexual assault of at least two girls by two male students who are relatives of employees of the school district.Civil rights suits in situations that involve what would normally constitute criminal actions are a means for state or federal authorities to take action when local law enforcement refuses to take action.
The compaint alleges that the two boys sexually assaulted several female students repeatedly. When the students sought punishment for the offenders, members of the Burch middle school administration attempted to conceal the case and threatened the girls with discipline and, in some cases, also took retaliatory action against them.
The state attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, filed a suit in the Mingo county circuit court on Thursday against the Mingo county board of education, five of its employees and the two minors accused of the assault, along with their parents. He said the school has “continued conduct and actions” against the girls since a guidance counsellor was first informed of the accusations in the spring of last year.
“The two male students have avoided criminal investigation, prosecution, or meaningful punishment due to the actions and conduct of the administrators and teachers at Burch middle school and the Mingo county board of education,” Morrisey said in the suit. “Instead of a meaningful investigation by the school, upon information and belief, the female victims have been disparately treated and punished, while the alleged male perpetrators have been ‘taken care of’.”
Hunter told the victims' parents she would take action, and told them not to call police. They understood this to mean Hunter was contacting authorities. In March of this year, they learned she had not done so.This is a classic way that matters are "taken care of" in an incestuous small town.
School policy mandates a call to law enforcement within 48 hours of disclosure of sexual abuse.
"Every action taken by defendants was either to minimalise the allegations against the boys and/or to protect the alleged male juvenile perpetrators,” Morrisey wrote. He also said that relative of one of the boys was "directly involved in the handling and investigation into the allegations against the relative" and in decisions relating to his punishment.
It is not clear just what action might be enforced as a result of a favorable decision for the state in the civil rights suit. This country has a very long way to go in dealing with sexual assault.