A mother is claiming in a federal lawsuit that her 10-year-old daughter was sexually harassed repeatedly by a male student at a Harrisburg school.
And officials at the Rowland Academy did nothing to stop it, the woman contends in her U.S. Middle District Court complaint.
An attempt to obtain comment from school district officials about the newly filed suit was not successful. A year ago, after the mother contacted PennLive, district officials said they were working with city police to investigate the harassment allegations.
The case is the second federal lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct at the Rowland Academy and inaction by school officials.
That other suit was filed in June 2019 by a mother who claims school officials failed to prevent her 15-year-old daughter from being raped by another student in a bathroom at Rowland. Judge Christopher C. Conner is currently considering whether to approve a proposed $350,000 settlement of that suit.
The 14-year-old boy accused of the June 2019 rape was arrested and prosecuted as a juvenile.
The new civil rights suit, which identifies the girl and her mother only as Jane Does, states the 10-year-old girl was sexually harassed in the fall of 2019 while in fifth grade.
The mother claims male students would make “sexually charged” comments to the girl, including saying they “wanted to do porn” on her. The boys also touched the girl without her consent, including on her buttocks, the suit states.
It states that one boy grabbed the girl, sat her on the lap of another boy, began bouncing her up and down while she told him to stop and then tried to kiss her. That boy later grabbed her daughter and pinned her between his legs, the mom claims.
She contends school officials did nothing to stop the alleged abuse even when they witnessed it. Other girls had reported being sexually harassed as well, she claims. The mom says her daughter complained to school officials but the boy wasn’t disciplined nor did they inform police.
The abuse left her daughter feeling “extremely humiliated, degraded, victimized, unsafe and emotionally distressed,” she claims. She says that the day after the alleged harassment another boy called her daughter a snitch.
Other students then began bullying the girl, her mom contends, and school officials didn’t intervene. They didn’t respond to the mother’s complaints about what supposedly was occurring either, the suit states.
It says the girl was reassigned to another school last December.
The mother claims the actions or inactions by school officials deprived her daughter of her right to educational opportunities and created a “hostile educational environment.” She seeks unspecified financial damages.