LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The parents of a developmentally disabled seventh grader announced Monday that their attorney will file a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District, after they say their son was sexually assaulted by another student during a physical education class.
Brian Claypool, a lawyer in the Miramonte Elementary child abuse case, alleges a 13-year-old special needs student was removed from class by an eighth-grade student and taken behind the bleachers, where he was sexually assaulted and sodomized.
Both boys are students at the Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy at 1700 W. 46th Street in South Los Angeles.
At a press conference Monday, Claypool said he intends to file a civil lawsuit against the school district for failing to appropriately supervise staff and students at the school, which opened in 2010 to relieve overcrowding at three neighborhood campuses.
The alleged victim has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old and has been documented to have "difficulty verbalizing feelings" and is known to do what his peers tell him to do, according to Claypool.
Claypool said LAUSD officials failed to protect the student despite complaints made two weeks prior to the alleged assault by the student's mother, who said she asked the administration for additional supervision after a teacher warned her that her son was being bullied in PE class.
The victim's mother said her complaint was ignored.
"Any person with a child knows your number one priority is to protect them," she said. "LAUSD needs to clean their act up. Stop trying to use a band-aid to cover up a huge wound."
LAUSD did not comment on the specifics of the case, but released a statement through LAUSD General Counsel David Holmquist Monday.
The statement reads:
"Allegations of student-on-student misconduct are taken seriously. Upon learning of the allegations the school site acted to appropriately document and notify authorities of the suspected abuse. We are committed to ensuring student safety at all times."
Los Angeles police are also investigating.
"It continues to be the blind leading the blind at the Los Angeles Unified School District," said Claypool, who was involved in a proposed settlement that covers 40 of the 191 lawsuits filed against the LAUSD after former Miramonte Elementary third-grade teacher Mark Berndt was arrested in January 2012 and criminally charged with molesting 23 students over a five-year period at the school.
Claypool also called for a criminal investigation into the district Monday.
"Maybe President Obama might want to hear about the fact that a sexual assault of a special needs student occurred at a school named in his honor," Claypool said.
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