The West Hartford Town Council approved a settlement Tuesday night in a case involving the alleged assault of a 13-year-old boy in the locker room at Sedgwick Middle School.
By Ronni Newton
The Town Council agreed Tuesday night to a settlement of $87,500 in a case involving a minor, alleging that the West Hartford Board of Education and three physical education teachers at Sedgwick Middle School were negligent and failed to comply with the Board of Education’s sexual harassment and bullying policy related to incidents that took place in the Sedgwick Middle School locker room on April 24, 2013, and April 25, 2013, when the plaintiff was an eighth-grader at the school.
We-Ha.com is not identifying the plaintiff by name because he was a minor at the time the incident took place.
A trial date had been set for July 17, 2018, but the plaintiff’s action was withdrawn on July 9, 2018, in anticipation of the Town Council’s authorization of the settlement.
The complaint, filed in June 2014, alleges that on April 24, 2013, while students were changing for gym class in the locker room as required, three students yelled out, “Let’s rape [name of student].” The complaint alleged that the three students then grabbed the plaintiff and pulled him “kicking and screaming” into an unlocked closet adjacent to the locker room and sexually assaulted him.
The complaint alleged that the plaintiff was bullied and sexually assaulted again by two students the following day while changing in and out of his gym clothes.
According to the complaint, during one of the incidents, one of the gym teachers who had been in an office with a window that looks into the locker room entered the unlocked closet and told the students to “knock it off.”
The complaint also alleged that as a result of “numerous bullying acts and sexual assaults,” the plaintiff suffered physical and emotional injury, including bruising, scratches, and “post traumatic stress disorder.” The complaint also states that the plaintiff’s grades in school fell as a result of the incident.
A total of four students at Sedgwick Middle School were criminally charged and expelled as a result of the bullying and sexual assault incidents involving the plaintiff. Deputy Corporation Counsel Kimberly Boneham said Tuesday that privacy laws prohibit release of information regarding whether or not any of the four students, who are identified in the case as John Doe nos. 1-4, returned to West Hartford Public Schools following their expulsions.
Another lawsuit was filed against the Board of Education in June 2015, alleging sexual assault of a middle school student, in this case an autistic boy at King Philip Middle School. That suit, alleging that the plaintiff was assaulted by another male student in a boy’s bathroom, has been withdrawn, Boneham said Tuesday.
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