An audio recording of a Washington, D.C., principal mocking a student’s sexual assault claim is at the center of a new lawsuit, according to The Washington Post.
The lawsuit, filed against Roosevelt High School Principal Aqueelha James and the D.C. government in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asserts that James and school system officials neglected to properly investigate the student’s sexual assault allegations.
According to a recording, obtained by the Post and quoted in the suit, James can be heard saying she is “sick of” the student, who alleges she was assaulted.
The recording was captured during a meeting between James, the girl making the allegation, the girl’s mother and several other school administrators. Dean of Students Reginald Stevens was participating in the conversation over the phone, according to the lawsuit.
The girl’s mother was reportedly recording the conversation with James when her daughter left the room abruptly. The mother left her cellphone on “record” as she left the room to console her daughter, the Post reported.
The Post did not name the girl or her mother because it does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault without their consent.
When the girl left the room, James told Stevens that she was going to take the sexual assault claim to the police in order to embarrass the girl.
“This … is going to compromise her,” James said. “And that’s why I’m going to go the extra mile and call MPD [The Metropolitan Police Department]. That’s why I’m going to do all of this … because I’m sick of her … So I’m going to call MPD, I’m going to have a long, drawn-out email just so that I can embarrass her.”
She said she hoped to “embarrass her ass.”
“You should see the dress she’s got on,” James added, according to the Post.
The girl and her mother are now suing James and the D.C. government for at least $5 million in actual and punitive damages, the Post reported.
D.C. Public Schools said in a statement that they had conducted an internal investigation into James’s response to the sexual assault claim.
“DCPS does not tolerate sexual misconduct or harassment in our schools,” the statement reads. “We take the safety and security of all of our students seriously, and while we cannot discuss the specifics of personnel matters, when the issue at Roosevelt was brought to our attention we launched an investigation and took action.”
The girl has alleged a fellow male student pulled her into the bathroom, groping and kissing her without her consent. She filed a police report on June 14, 2017, one day after the alleged incident, the Post reported.
The report states the girl claimed the male student “forced her in the male restroom and into a bathroom stall” and “kissed her neck causing a passion mark and touched her buttocks without her consent.”
BY EMILY BIRNBAUM – 09/26/18
The girl and her mother declined to comment for the Post’s report.