UNITED STATES NEWS

Virginia school system says ongoing claim of sex assaults on school grounds was fabricated

Nov 9, 2023, 3:41 PM

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — Allegations that a northern Virginia seventh-grader was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted at her school more than a decade ago were totally fabricated, lawyers for the school system contend in a court filing seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit she filed.

The onetime student, who is now 24, stands by her claims.

The allegations surfaced in 2011 and have been the subject of legal proceedings for more than a decade, including a lawsuit the onetime student first filed against the school district in 2019. They were also the basis for a 2014 settlement that Fairfax County Public Schools — the state’s largest school system — reached with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights over accusations the district failed to adequately investigate the student’s complaint.

In a motion filed late Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria, though, the school system’s lawyers ask that the former student’s lawsuit be dismissed as a “fraud upon the court.”

The lawyers say they uncovered Facebook posts between the then-12-year-old girl and a classmate alleged to be one of her principal attackers. They say the messages show that the two were actually boyfriend and girlfriend and that the girl had sought out sexual contact with him during a period of time in which she alleged he had been raping and threatening her.

“It is now crystal clear that the entire case has been litigated on false premises,” the lawyers wrote.

The lawsuit, which is scheduled to go to trial in March, is one of several cases the school system has battled in recent years, racking up millions in legal fees.

The cases, and similar accusations in neighboring Loudoun County, have drawn scrutiny, as Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has faulted local school systems for their handling of sexual assault accusations.

In the Fairfax County case, the girl, who is now 24., said in a letter to the court that she believes the recently discovered Facebook posts are irrelevant and were possibly inauthentic. She said the messages purportedly sent by her came from an account identified only as “Facebook User,” that they “look highly suspicious” and that she doesn’t remember sending them.

She also says that even if she did send them, her attacker forced her to send messages like that to cover up the fact that she was being abused.

“He would make me text him all the time so that I would look like his girlfriend, she wrote.

The chats — excerpts of which are included in the school system’s filing — are explicit. They continued through Nov. 21, 2011, when the boy told the accuser he was breaking up with her. The next day is when the accuser and her mother met with school officials to make her first complaint, according to the school system’s lawyers.

The accuser has complained throughout the lawsuit that the school system has been unduly aggressive in its defense.

The school system, for its part, says the accuser’s story has evolved. In her very first written complaint in 2011 she wrote that her tormentors “harass me, tease me, and give me seductive looks” and that one left a vulgar voicemail.

By the time she filed her second amended complaint in 2022, she alleged that she had been gang-raped multiple times in a school closet.

The accuser has said in court papers that as a 12-year-old, she initially lacked the vocabulary to describe what was happening to her.

In 2012, the accuser’s mother filed a police report and an investigation occurred. There is no indication that criminal charges were filed, though many of the court records related to the police investigation have been redacted.

United States News

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Virginia school system says ongoing claim of sex assaults on school grounds was fabricated