New York school sued for failing to prevent student’s sexual assault, district accused of ‘victim blaming’

Northeast

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (NewsNation Now) — The family of a teenage victim who says she was sexually assaulted in the stairwell of her New York high school is filing suit against the school and the city.

According to the suit, the 14-year-old victim was a ninth-grader at New Rochelle High School in January 2020 when she got a pass to leave class, planning to go to the cafeteria.

She walked past a security guard and shortly after was approached by a fellow ninth-grader with who she’d had negative interactions with, including bullying, for at least two years.

She says that classmate grabbed her neck and led her into a stairwell, where she says she was choked and violently assaulted while repeatedly saying “no.”

Attorney Andrew Buzin represents the teenager and her family, and says such a thing should never happen in any school.

“That should never happen anywhere, but especially in an educational facility where they take on the responsibility as serving as pseudo parents to these kids and parents and trust their kids to these school administrators, to these officials,” Buzin said.

NewsNation can’t identify the alleged attacker because he is a minor. But Buzin confirms the alleged attacker was charged in the assault and in a separate incident of unlawful sexual contact with a fellow student in New York family court.

The lawsuit says the school failed to supervise the teenage boy involved, left him and the alleged victim unsupervised and failed to maintain safe and secure common areas.

Attorneys representing the school district responded in legal filings blaming the 14-year-old girl.

In their response, the district’s attorneys wrote:

“That there was no negligence, fault or culpable conduct on the part of the defendant, CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF NEW ROCHELLE, causing the damages alleged in the complaint; furthermore, there was contributory negligence, assumption of risk, contributory fault and/or culpable conduct attributable to the plaintiffs, to the extent of total and/or partial diminution of damages alleged in the complaint.”

Buzin said the family hopes the lawsuit will hold the district accountable.

“Obviously the harm that was done to this, this young lady can’t be undone,” Buzin said. “But hopefully through going through a case like this, the school district will learn how to take proper precautions, how to set up proper protocols to ensure that it never happens again.”

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