The Moreno Valley Unified School District in Southern California is facing a lawsuit after a mother says her special needs daughter was sexually assaulted by a fellow student at school and the principal tried to keep the third-grader quiet about the abuse.
The lawsuit filed by the student's mother, Akeila Lundy, claims that Lundy's 9-year-old daughter was molested on multiple occasions by a classmate inside a special education classroom at Honey Hollow Elementary School. Some incidents occurred during class with the teacher present, the suit states.
"I said, 'Say it again, I want to make sure,'" Lundy said of asking her daughter about the alleged abuse. "She told me, 'This student is touching my secret and I need you to call her mom to tell her to stop."
Lundy reported multiple instances of "forcible sexual penetration and assault" to the school district during the second semester of the 2016-17 school year, according to the suit.
The filing alleges that district and school officials did not report the sexual assaults to the police or a child welfare agency, which is required by California law.
Lundy claims she walked into a "closed-door room" where her daughter was "with the principal writing a statement." The suit alleges that the principal "coerced" the girl into signing the statement "in an unconscionable attempt to mitigate their liability."
Lundy says the principal wouldn't allow her to read the statement.
The mother requested access to the statement several times, but the school has not turned over the document, the filing claims.
The girl's alleged abuser was suspended for two days, according to the lawsuit. Upon her return, the abuse continued and the victim was beaten and called a "snitch," the lawsuit states.
On Wednesday, the Moreno Valley School District said in a statement that it "takes any allegation of misconduct very seriously and strives to provide a safe environment for learning" but cannot comment on the lawsuit because of its "legal obligation to protect the confidentiality of that investigation as well as the due process and privacy rights of the students."