AUSTIN, Texas — A lawsuit has been filed against the Austin Independent School District over multiple alleged incidents of sexual assault on AISD campuses.
The lawsuit alleges that in each of the four cases outlined in the suit, AISD staff never referred the cases to the district's Title IX coordinator once they knew of the allegations, even though doing so is required by the district's policies and procedures. The suit also states that in each incident, AISD never conducted its own investigations of sexual harassment or assault and did not provide any of the victims with counseling or other resources in a timely manner.
Due to those acts and omissions, the plaintiffs are bringing forth a claim against the district that the victims were discriminated against based upon sex and gender and that their rights to due process and equal protection were violated.
The first incident outlined in the suit states that in April 2015, a teenage girl at an AISD high school was allegedly sexually assaulted by a male student in the men's bathroom at the high school. School officers opened a case and reviewed surveillance video, but said they couldn't find evidence of the assault, according to the suit.
The second and third cases outlined in the lawsuit involve two pre-kindergarten students at an AISD elementary school who were allegedly sexually assaulted by their teacher during the 2016-17 school year. A case was opened and, a short time later, the victims' teacher was placed on administrative leave.
The suit states the AISD Police Department investigator in the second case said that the investigation was closed because they did not have enough evidence to pursue charges. Shortly thereafter, the teacher was expected to return to the school.
The fourth case outlined in the lawsuit alleges that in 2014, an AISD elementary student with disabilities was inappropriately touched by a cafeteria worker at his school. The victim's mother was referred to AISD PD, who took a statement from her and the victim. According to the lawsuit, before the end of that day, an AISD officer told the mother that there was no evidence and they were closing the case.
AISD detectives set up a forensic interview with the victim at the Child Advocacy Center. The lawsuit states that during the interview, the victim said he was touched by someone but gave no description of who it was, so AISD PD decided to close the case.
Austin ISD released the following statement on Tuesday:
"Austin ISD has not yet been served with the lawsuit but will address the issue at the appropriate time. AISD does not tolerate any form of sexual violence or assault. If a student believes that they have experienced prohibited behavior, they should immediately report the alleged act. All claims are taken seriously and the district will make every reasonable effort to protect our students."
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