Judge, lawyers meet to discuss Title IX suit against local district

(Photo by Nia Harden/file)
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COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) Attorneys for the parents of a then 17-year-old Copperas Cove High School student and lawyers representing the school district on Wednesday discussed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the school district filed under federal Title IX.

The lawsuit alleges the girl was raped while at school to rehearse for a play.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske met with the lawyers in a telephonic conference call to discuss issues before trial, for which jury selection is set in U.S. District Judge Alan D. Albright court on
April 13, court records show.

But that court date, because of issues raised Wednesday, will be reset.

Arrangements were made during the conference that direct the plaintiff to provide certain documents to CCISD’s attorneys as part of discovery, and the judge ordered if those documents were not received by this Friday at 5 p.m., she may request the judge set a discovery hearing.

As well, the judge set another telephone conference for Feb. 21, which requires that the proposed trial date be re-docketed.

The claim revolves around the student’s report that she was sexually assaulted by another student on Dec. 17, 2015, while she stayed after school to rehearse for a play.

The male student who she says assaulted her is the child of a person who was formerly an employee of the school district.

“She reported the assault and the district failed to satisfy their duties under Title IX of the Educational Acts of 1972,” the initial complaint filed Jan. 8, 2018, says.

For its part, attorneys for the district, in their reply to the complaint, wrote: “(The) defendant specifically denies any liability in this case under any of the theories of recovery articulated by the plaintiffs,” and “(The) defendant denies there was a violation of plaintiffs’ rights under Title IX or any other statute or legal authority.”

The amended complaint filed by the student’s attorney provides great detail into the alleged attack.

The complaint alleges the male student “pulled (the girl) into the stairway and started kissing her. Then he unzipped his pants and pushed on her shoulders to force her down in a crouching position. When she tried to pull away, (the boy) gripped her shoulders and the back of her head, forcing her to perform oral sex on him.”

“Then (he) pulled (the girl) up, pinned her against a wall, and then pushed her down into a kneeling position on the staircase with her elbows holding her up,” the complaint says.

And it goes on to say: “When he was finished raping her, (she) quickly got up and left.

“As she was leaving (her attacker) called out, ‘Well, at least have a good Christmas!’” the complaint reads.

The school district answer points out that the district “conducted an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct by (the male student),” and the district “cooperated in all investigations into allegations of inappropriate conduct by (the boy) directed toward (the victim) including but not limited to a police investigation.”