BOISE, Idaho » A black teenager who prosecutors say was sexually assaulted by three white football players in the locker room of a Idaho high school has sued the school district, alleging the rape was the culmination of months of racist taunts and physical abuse.
The federal lawsuit filed May 13 says the school failed to prevent bullying and attacks despite many incidents happening in front of football coaches and other officials at Dietrich High School, which serves a rural town of 330 people that is predominantly white and known for being religious.
“The deliberate indifference and negligent actions of these defendants exposed the plaintiff to harm from fellow students, including at least one student known to have a history of aggressive, bullying and violent behavior,” the lawsuit says.
School officials declined to comment.
Three teens have been charged in the Oct. 23 attack, which took place after one of the victim’s football teammates pretended to give him a hug, according to the lawsuit. Instead, the teen held him down so another student could assault him with a clothes hanger.
Despite his screams, no staff members came into the locker room to investigate what was going on, the lawsuit says. It contends that the school had no policy for monitoring locker rooms.
An 18-year-old and 17-year-old have been charged with felonies in adult court, and a third teen is charged as a juvenile. Idaho law mandates that juveniles ages 14 to 18 accused of certain felony crimes on or near school campuses be charged as adults. That includes the sex assault charge.
The Associated Press typically does not name victims of sexual assault or juveniles who have been charged with crimes.