BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) — The Beaufort County School District (BCSD) is under fire and facing a lawsuit from a former student who said the school system ignored the fact she was sexually assaulted.
The girl, known only as “E.R.” in the suit, said she was sexually assaulted not once but three times in two years by three different people.
Then she faced harassment not just by the people who assaulted her, but by classmates and other students.
This whole time, she claims, the school or school system didn’t help her.
“It teaches a child the authority figures are not going to be there for them,” Joshua Slavin said.
That’s what attorney Joshua Slavin said his client, named “E.R.” in the suit to protect her identity, learned during her time at Bluffton High School after she said she was raped or assaulted three times in two years.
Read the lawsuit below.
The suit said the first assault happened in 2016 when she was just a 14-year-old freshman. It said the boy was a sophomore on the track team, who forced her to perform fellatio on him.
She told a guidance counselor who was her volleyball coach, who allegedly did not report it to law enforcement. Instead, the suit claims she told the victim to “stay away” from the boy who assaulted her.
Then word got out about what happened according to Slavin and things got worse.
“It happened outside the school but the gossip and bullying about them came into the school and the school didn’t do what they needed to to help this girl.”
The only action allegedly taken by an employee or agent of BCSD was for someone to tell him “don’t do it again.”
The second time the suit details was later that same year.
Again word got out and allegedly instead of admitting to the crime the perpetrator, who was 18 years old, responded by “putting her in a headlock and dragging her” at school.
The suit says the girl’s mother and “E.R.” herself reported the assault to the School Resource Officer, who “was able to observe the assault on school surveillance video.”
But “no action was taken against Male 2.”
The third time happened early in her Sophomore year when she was 15. The suit said she was raped twice by a 19-year-old Senior, described as “a star football player.”
It says “E.R.” was not just raped, but then bullied and attacked by the alleged rapist’s girlfriend and friends.
She did report the crime again and in the suit she got a response from a “school agent.”
“She was encouraged not to pursue anything because they wanted to protect his football scholarship, his football future, over her safety,” Slavin said. “Trying to protect this rapist, this perpetrator over this girl who was a victim.”
“E.R.’s” mother did talk to police about the alleged crimes but her daughter did not provide a statement to investigators.
The girl, who was diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder by a psychologist and
psychiatrist, was “not” offered therapy by BCSD according to the lawsuit. She eventually left Bluffton High to be homeschooled instead and eventually went to Hilton Head High School.
The suit claims she sustained substantial emotional, psychological, and physical damages and
interference with her education.
Only now is she willing to step up and talk about the attacks she suffered, and is willing to talk about them on a witness stand.
“She felt it was important that she step up and seek justice for herself and send a message,” Slavin explained. “You have to do the right thing by a child who comes to this school and is asking for help in these circumstances.”
The Beaufort County School District would not comment on the lawsuit because it is pending litigation.
While Slavin said BCSD has not responded to the lawsuit in court yet either, he has spoken to their attorneys.