9 Investigates

9 Investigates: Mother wants teen's suspension removed after sex assault claim

A Volusia County mother is pushing for a five-day suspension to be removed from her daughter’s school record. The mother said her teenager was punished after speaking out about an alleged sexual assault.
Investigative reporter Karla Ray found out the Atlantic High School student was disciplined more than a month after she claimed a male student forced a sex act on her on school grounds.
Those claims only came to light after a second girl made similar claims about the same boy to school administrators.
The details are spelled out in a criminal investigation being conducted by Port Orange Police. 
The boy told investigators the act was consensual, but the girl told police and school administrators it was not consensual.  Her mother said the girl’s suspension paperwork puts the blame equally on her.
The two students admitted to police they snuck off during lunch back in October.  Now, Port Orange Police are investigating whether what happened between them during their time together was sexual assault.
“She didn’t want to say anything, because she thought because they were dating, nothing was going to happen,” the girl’s mother said.
In order to protect the girl’s identity, Channel 9 is not identifying her mother, but the woman showed Ray her freshman daughter’s suspension paperwork. 
She was forced out of school for five days due to “sexual contact on campus.”  It’s contact the girl told school administrators in a written statement, and in person to the Department of Children and Families and law enforcement, was not consensual.
“I can’t believe they would punish a child for reporting they were sexually assaulted while at school,” the mother said.
9 Investigates learned the girl only came forward to school leaders after another girl made similar claims about the same boy. 
That prompted a call to Volusia County deputies and Port Orange police by school administrators, and ultimately led to a police report. The police report details that the other student accused the boy of touching her inappropriately, even saying he had done it to several other girls.
Those details were added to Port Orange police’s investigation on Nov. 27, 2017, and two days later, the woman’s daughter was suspended.
“She did what she could, she tried to stop him, and she’s just being punished for it,” the mother said.
When Ray asked the Volusia County School District for information on its investigation into the incident, Ray was told all such information was private. However, all districts are required to report certain information to the state, and that information shows there were nine sexual offenses reported on Atlantic High School’s campus over the last two school years. 
Volusia County Schools reported zero sexual assaults at any of its schools during that time.
Port Orange police are still actively investigating the claims as potential sexual assault.
A Volusia County Public Schools spokesperson wrote in a statement, “School officials gained knowledge of this allegation through a third party who did not report it as an assault.  It had occurred at least a month prior to being reported. DCF and law enforcement were appropriately notified by school officials. There were multiple violations of the student code of conduct by all students involved in this incident, which were separate from the law enforcement issue.  Due to student confidentiality, the law does not allow us to release details.”
Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.

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