'One time at band camp': Huge payment after girl sexually violated on bus

July 9, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A Virginia school district has paid a settlement of nearly $600,000 after a student charged she was sexually violated on a school bus during a band trip – for the way the school district reacted to the incident.

A lawyer not involved in the case said had the result ended up the other way, schools nationwide could have used the precedent that would have made it virtually impossible for them to be held responsible for failing to protect children.

The report comes from the Daily Wire, which explained the recent settlement of $587,000 came after the Supreme Court declined to intervene.

The report said Shatter the Silence, a group that has called attention to the school district’s handling of sexual abuse, welcomed news of the settlement.

"We’re pleased that Jane Doe finally got some form of justice,” the group said in a statement to the Daily Wire. “It only took fighting FCPS and its rape defense lawyers at Hunton Andrews Kurth in every level of the judiciary."

The report said the incident happened in 2018 when a 16-year-old student at Oakton High charged she was sexually violated by a classmate on that trip.

"The lawsuit accused the school district of being concerned only about its own potential liability, and not the safety of its students. Emails uncovered during the lawsuit showed administrators joking about the incident, making references to the number of 'inches' of the alleged assailant’s penis and to the American Pie quote, 'one time at band camp.' A judge sanctioned the school system for destroying evidence related to her complaint," the report explained.

School officials fought the case throughout, and the "National School Boards Association, the group that notoriously called for anti-terrorist statutes to be deployed against conservative parents, joined the effort," the report said.

A jury said the student, Jane Doe, was sexually harassed but school officials were not liable.

"But the case went to appeal based on whether administrators’ responsibility to act kicked in once they had 'notice or knowledge' of an incident. The district said that although Assistant Principal Jennifer Hogan received allegations of nonconsensual sexual activity, she didn’t view it as such, and therefore didn’t have knowledge of sexual harassment," the report said.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Doe’s attorney, who said, "It cannot be that a school administrator’s failure to understand what constitutes sexual harassment is an absolute bar to liability."

The ruling said the assault was by another student and while there was no previous "infraction," the law is clear "that a school may be held liable when it makes a student vulnerable to sexual harassment by their peers, such as by failing to respond appropriately after learning of an initial incident of sexual assault."

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