School administrators at a suburban Philadelphia district failed to prevent the sexual assault of a female student by a male student in a school stairwell in 2018.
The assault occurred despite Abington School District officials assuring the girl’s parents that they would keep the two students separated.
Those allegations and others are part of a federal lawsuit filed this week by Ross Feller Casey of Philadelphia on behalf of the girl and her family.
“This lawsuit is about holding the school district accountable for failing to take appropriate and, frankly, common-sense action,” said attorney Joel Feller, a founding partner of Ross Feller Casey. “If Abington school officials had done what they promised to protect my client, she would have avoided years of fear and anxiety and the eventual attack that occurred in the stairwell of the school.”
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Feller and Ross Feller Casey attorney Brian J. McCormick, Jr.
The girl had endured three years of repeated bullying, harassment, and assaults, both physical and emotional, by the male student, which culminated in the sexual attack, according to the lawsuit.
Numerous officials at the Montgomery County school district were aware of the constant harassment and abuse. Still, they permitted the male student access to the female student. According to the student’s parents, the harassment continued even after they met with Abington administrators and despite a school surveillance video showing the male student punching the female student in the stomach in a school hallway.
The Philadelphia Inquirer covered the lawsuit’s filing (read the story).
Feller told the paper that the family was “extremely disappointed and frankly shocked” at how the school “turned a blind eye” to the male student’s behavior.
“The family doesn’t want this to happen to any other student,” Feller said. “They are taking the steps to file this lawsuit to make changes and to really assure that what happened to their lovely daughter never happens to anyone again. The family is devastated about what their daughter had to endure, and what she’s going to endure for the rest of her life.”
Ross Feller Casey is widely recognized as the leading Pennsylvania law firm handling sexual assault cases involving children and students.
The firm played an integral role in obtaining the eventual $60 million global settlement with Penn State on behalf of several young boys sexually assaulted by Jerry Sandusky, a former football coach at the university.
Our attorneys have also successfully litigated a series of other multimillion-dollar settlements involving the sexual abuse of children and teenagers in various settings, including public schools and private camps.
Ross Feller Casey is currently litigating several other high-profile lawsuits against school districts across Pennsylvania in cases involving teachers and aides who sexually assaulted students. (Learn more)
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