Less than a year after triumphantly passing a long-awaited school bond construction bond, the Culver City Unified School District is now embroiled in a sexual assault scandal.
A 14-year old former Culver City High School student filed a civil lawsuit against the school district, claiming that she was repeatedly raped and bullied by first-team members of the high school football team and that the district did not protect her from the players’ assaults.
The legal action was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Jan. 14 and claims the alleged rapes took place in December 2013 and were videotaped by some of the football players. The plaintiff, who no longer attends school in Culver City, transferred to another school last year after the assaults because she was too traumatize to see her reported assailants, the lawsuit states.
The civil action names the school district, former Culver City High School student Andrew Weaver and two then Culver City High School upperclassmen. It also names 100 unnamed defendants. Weaver, who was 18 years old at the time of the alleged rapes, was charged with three counts of oral copulation and one count of a person under 18 and one count of dissuading a witness from committing a crime last year. According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, he was convicted of one of the sex act counts and sentenced to five years probation.
“We recently became aware of a lawsuit that was filed against the Culver City Unified District regarding an incident in December, 2013. CCUSD and our entire community believe the health, welfare and safety of our students is paramount, and we responded immediately and cooperatively to this incident with the Culver City Police Department” CCUSD Superintendent David LaRose said in a written statement. “While I cannot comment about specific details regarding the allegations contained in the lawsuit, our District will remain unwavering in our commitment to protect the children we serve and respond aggressively to any action that challenges this priority.”
The plaintiff, listed as A.S. in court records, accuses the defendants of targeting and victimizing her by “amongst other things, raping, sexually abusing, physically assaulting, sexually molesting, sexually battering and harassing A.S. during school hours while she was on campus” on or between Dec.4, 2013 and Dec. 22, 2013.
The complaint also alleges that the plaintiff was coerced by the three football players to “hang out’ at the high school parking lot where many of the alleged sexual assaults took place. It also states that the assaults were videotaped and later the images were distributed to others students as well as “spreading malicious rumors about A.S.’s ‘sexual promiscuity,’ threatening A.S. if she told anyone about the incident, verbally and emotionally harassing A.S. following the incident and physically intimidating A.S. following the incident.”
In court documents, CCUSD is accused of allowing the purported rapes and assaults to occur through its negligence to protect the plaintiff. “In utter disregard of the mandatory duties imposed upon district and its administrators, [the] district and [its] employees, teachers and administrators failed to monitor school grounds during school hours to ensure student safety during school hours,” the lawsuit states.
Last year, the plaintiff was “forced to transfer schools in order to escape the relentless bullying, humiliation and trauma of having to go to school with her abusers,” the civil action states. The plaintiff, who know lives in Chicago, continues to suffer “psychological injury” and mental anguish” due to the rapes and is and is seeking general damages for “emotional distress, physical pain and emotional suffering” as well as loss of earnings and future earnings potential earning capacity and psychological and medical care and expenses.
The civil action comes a week after the City Council adopted a resolution commit-ting to operate programs of the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services in a “bullying-free environment.” While the alleged rapes did not occur at a Culver City park, local students talked about bullying publicly at a Nov. 19 2013 workshop a month before the reported assaults took place.