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New Lawsuit Claims Sex Assault Inside Robertson County School

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New Lawsuit Claims Sex Assault Inside Robertson County School

By Ben Hall. CREATED May 19, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The mother of a 5-year-old boy said her son was sexually assaulted by two young children inside a Robertson County School.

The mom filed a lawsuit Friday in federal court, claiming the district has "displayed a chronic and deliberate indifference to the safety of its pupils for a period of years."

Using the name Jane Doe, to protect the identity of her child, she asked the district to implement system wide training about child on child sexual abuse.

"I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined something like this could happen to my child," Jane Doe said in an interview with NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

She is a single mom, who remembers being called to a meeting with administrators of the Junior Jackets aftercare program at Cheatham Park Elementary last month.

"I just thought, he's a little boy, what's he done now?" she remembered.

But administrators gave her shocking news.

"I was told that my son was caught in the bathroom with another child older than him, doing sexual acts with each other."

Jane learned the abuse involved two other male students in the program-- one was nine years old.

"There was penetration involved," Doe said.  "It was very graphic and things you don't want to hear about your baby."

The lawsuit claims the Robertson County Board of Education has "refused to train employees" "to detect and prevent sexual abuse" among students.

The suit said that her son was raped "numerous" times over a period of weeks and that the boys gave her son gifts to get him into the restroom.

"He was coming home with extra toys that weren't his. He was coming home with money that I didn't give him," Doe said.

Most disturbing is sex abuse among young children is happening more and more.

There have been recent cases in Davidson and Cheatham Counties and at another school in Robertson County.

The other Robertson County case alleges four young victims were abused by two classmates at East Robertson Elementary.

Attorney Melissa Blackburn said Robertson County refuses to "acknowledge the danger" of peer on peer sexual abuse and is not protecting students.

"I think it's a wake up call for every single parent, every single principal and every single administrator across the country that these things are happening," Blackburn said.

"They have a duty to ensure the safety of the children in their care, and clearly, in Robertson County, they are not."

Blackburn said she believes the so-called aggressors have likely been abused themselves.

"More likely than not, we have two children that they themselves were victims first," Blackburn said.

But state laws are not equipped to deal with this kind of abuse. DCS rarely even investigates cases of sex abuse between children under 13.

And school districts often refuse to tell parents their children may have been involved in abuse because of privacy laws.

"They need to be able to let parents of those children, that possibly were victims, know, and be able to give them enough details to get them counseling," Blackburn said.

In fact, Jane is not sure what has happened to the boys involved in her son's case, but her anger is not aimed at them.

"I'm not mad at that baby.  I'm mad at the circumstances that brought us here," Doe said. "Because no child, I don't care you're five or nine, should even know what that is."

Her son is now out of the aftercare program and in counseling -- dealing with a loss of innocence that came way too soon.

"You don't think to tell your children about other kids. You teach them about the bad guy. You don't tell them about kids their age," Doe said.

Robertson County recently offered a training video to teachers about how to identify sex abuse between children.

But the suit claims that video is not enough. It aims to get free training from the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville to be implemented system wide.

A spokesman for Robertson County Schools said the district cannot comment on pending litigation.
 
Ben Hall

Ben Hall

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Ben Hall is a veteran reporter at NewsChannel 5. He has covered the state legislature, presidential campaigns and is presently part of NewsChannel 5's award-winning investigative unit.