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Lawsuit: 5-year-old SC student ‘frequently’ sexually assaulted on school bus

A lawsuit has been filed by a parent against Richland School District One after a 5-year-old...
A lawsuit has been filed by a parent against Richland School District One after a 5-year-old Brennan Elementary School student said she was sexually assaulted on a school bus.(stock)
Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 6:11 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -A lawsuit has been filed by a parent against Richland School District One after a 5-year-old Brennan Elementary School student said she was sexually assaulted on a school bus.

According to the lawsuit, the girl was on a bus sometime on or around February 21, 2020, when an older student pulled out his penis, showed it to her, and asked her to perform oral sex. The girl told her mother she clamped her mouth shut while the older boy tried to push her head down. The suit says the student told her mother she was frequently touched inappropriately by the older boy.

The suit also noted that the bus had a policy where younger students were required to sit at the front of the bus and older students were required to sit on the back of the bus so that younger students could be easily monitored by the bus driver.

On February 24, the girl’s mother reported the incident to Brennan Elementary School. During an investigation by school officials, the school determined the incident happened on Feb. 12. After watching surveillance footage from the bus, school officials also noticed that she was “frequently” sexually assaulted by an older boy while she was sitting within one seat distance from the bus driver.

During the afternoon drop-off on Feb. 12 just before 6 p.m., the lawsuit says the video showed the older boy in the 5-year-old girl’s personal space while they were sitting on the second seat across the aisle from the bus driver and the girl raising her hand saying “he touched my butt.”

On Feb. 18, another video showed the boy “grinding up” against the girl and kissing her on the cheek while sitting on the second seat across the aisle from the bus driver. That happened just before 3 p.m. The video also showed the girl “wiping” the kiss off of her face. Minutes later, the boy grabbed the girl by her chin and kissed her on the lips before the door opened for him to get off the bus.

Two days later, an additional video showed the boy putting his arm around the girl and pulling her head toward his lap. The lawsuit says the girl struggled to fight the boy while they were sitting directly behind the bus driver.

According to the bus policy, the boy “should have been sitting in the back of the bus away from the young female pre-K students…”

The suit states the girl suffered “severe and permanent physical and emotional injuries as a result of the frequent sexual assaults and harassment…”

The suit lists the following causes of action:

  • Negligence/gross negligence and/or recklessness
  • Outrage
  • Premise liability
  • Negligent supervision/negligent hiring/negligent training/negligent retention

The plaintiff in the suit is seeking actual, incidental, and consequential damages for all causes of action, court costs, and “further relief as the court may deem just and proper.”

WIS has reached out to the district for comment.

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