Portland, Oregon, schools and after-school program sued after a 9-year-old girl is allegedly raped

A young girl and her guardian have sued an Oregon nonprofit, Portland Public Schools and Multnomah County, for $9 million, claiming they were negligent when male classmates sexually assaulted her at school and raped her at an after-school program when she was nine. year old third grader.

The child, now 11, attended an elementary school in Portland and an after-school program operated by Multnomah County on its school campus in partnership with Latino Network and Portland Public Schools.

The lawsuit says the girl was sexually touched without consent several times during school hours. In March 2022, she punched a male classmate in the face to protect himself when he touched his mouth to hers, but the school suspended both her and her attacker over the incident, according to the lawsuit.

The following month, two other male students held her in a bathroom stall during recess of their after-school program and raped her, the lawsuit said. The school learned of the abuse when the parent of one of the male perpetrators heard about it from their child and reported it.

The lawsuit alleges that the school and after-school program failed to immediately notify law enforcement and initiated an internal investigation. It says school district personnel interviewed the girl without notifying police or her parents of the assault or of their interview.

The school suspended the two men for one day and said they would remain at school with a safety plan. But the girl’s father didn’t believe this would keep his daughter safe and enrolled her and her younger brother in another public school in Portland. Both the girl and her brother missed almost a month of schooling as a result.

According to the lawsuit, Portland Public Schools should have known that the plaintiff was vulnerable and at risk of continued sexual assault by male students. It alleges that the school district was negligent by failing to adequately train and educate students on appropriate sexual boundaries and how to report abuse.

The lawsuit alleges that the school system made the plaintiff feel like she would be reprimanded if she protected herself from unwanted sexual contact. The school system was negligent for failing to report student vulnerabilities to after-school program staff and failing to train staff in monitoring, recognizing and reporting child sexual abuse.

It alleges that Latino Network and Multnomah County were negligent for failing to raise awareness of the after-school program among students during the after-school program and for failing to adequately train after-school program staff in monitoring, recognizing and reporting sexual grooming and abuse of children.

Portland Public Schools said in a statement that it was aware of these new allegations when it received the lawsuit and is investigating. It says it is required to report any case of possible child abuse and neglect to the Oregon Department of Human Services, and such reports are confidential.

“We take our responsibilities as mandatory reporters seriously and follow the law on reporting,” the report said.

Multnomah County said it does not comment on pending litigation. Latino Network said news of the lawsuit is “painful” for the organization, which is committed to trauma-informed practices.

“We take the allegations very seriously and are working with our legal representation to provide counsel to our organization,” the report said.

The lawsuit was filed March 20 in Multnomah County Circuit Court.