MIAMI (AP) — Administrators at a charter school repeatedly failed to take action after a 7-year-old student was bullied and sexually assaulted by an older classmate to the point that he attempted suicide, the boy's mother claims in a lawsuit filed Monday.
The boy, identified only as "John" in the lawsuit, first told his mother in November 2011 that the 11-year-old boy "made me do something nasty" in the back of a school bus, according to a police report. The boy said he was forced to perform oral sex on the classmate, "J.R." who warned him, "If you don't do this, I'm gonna hurt you," the report says.
The boy's mother contacted Rebecca Dinda, principal of the Downtown Miami Charter School the boys attended, according to the lawsuit. Dinda assured the mother "the assault would not happen again and that the two children would be separated and closely monitored." But the attorney for the boy's mother, Jeffrey Herman, said the bullying and threats continued, followed by a second sexual assault in a school restroom.
"They have a duty to prevent that harm from happening with these little kids," Herman told reporters. "The school failed miserably."
The younger boy's mother said "John" attempted suicide twice after that, once by deliberately standing in traffic with his eyes closed and another time by sticking a metal hanger in an electric socket. The mother, who asked not to be identified by name to protect her son's identity, said he is now taking psychological medications, has frequent difficulty sleeping and making friends and will likely undergo therapy for years.
"It has been a nightmare, and I would not want anybody to feel the way I do," she said.
An email seeking comment from Dinda was not returned. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Charter Schools USA Inc., operator of the school, said in a statement it could not comment directly on the lawsuit's allegations but added that "student safety and security are among our highest priorities." The lawsuit also names a bus service and driver as defendants.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the Miami Police Department had concluded its criminal investigation. Herman said when sex assault allegations are made against one child by another, it's not always clear that the perpetrator knew that a crime was being committed. He added that "J.R." is also undergoing mental counseling.
Herman said the lawsuit will seek damages "in the millions" to cover what will likely be years of therapy needed for "John," who will no longer attend Downtown Miami Charter. It also could affect his ability to earn a living, Herman said.
"There will be big damages in this case. His life will never be the same," he said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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