Westchester County school blames teenage girl for being ‘raped by fellow student’

A 14-year-old girl who alleges that she was raped and choked by her bully in a school stairwell has been blamed for the attack by school district lawyers who say she was ‘negligent’.

Students and parents protested outside New Rochelle High School in Westchester County, New York, on Saturday after the district’s response to a lawsuit by the victim was revealed.  

The victim was grabbed by her throat and led into a stairwell where she was raped and choked on March 4, 2020 by a boy who had a history of bullying her, the lawsuit claims.

All of this happened while the victim screamed and yelled, ‘No,’ according to court documents reviewed by the Daily Mail. The stairwell was monitored by a security camera, which captured footage of the attack.

The suspect was arrested by New Rochelle police within days of the alleged rape, but the records are sealed because he was charged as a juvenile offender, New Rochelle police said.

The alleged victim and her mother are now suing the school district for unspecified damages. 

Insurance lawyers for the school district said in a March 31 response to the lawsuit that the district wasn’t negligent and isn’t ‘at fault or culpable.’ 

‘Furthermore, there was contributory negligence, assumption of risk, contributory fault and/or culpable conduct attributable to the plaintiffs, to the extent of total and/or partial diminution of damages alleged in the complaint,’ the school insurance company’s lawyers wrote.  

Dozens of New Rochelle High School students and community leaders protested the rape and the school district's lawyers' response that blamed the victim.

Dozens of New Rochelle High School students and community leaders protested the rape and the school district's lawyers' response that blamed the victim.

Dozens of New Rochelle High School students and community leaders protested the rape and the school district’s lawyers’ response that blamed the victim. 

Dozens of parents and New Rochelle High School students protested the school's reaction to blaming a rape victim in court documents.

Dozens of parents and New Rochelle High School students protested the school's reaction to blaming a rape victim in court documents.

The victim was raped inside New Rochelle High School, according to the family's lawsuit.

The victim was raped inside New Rochelle High School, according to the family's lawsuit.

A teenager was raped inside New Rochelle High School, where it was caught on security cameras, according to the family’s lawsuit. Lawyers representing the school blamed the victim, which sparked a protest on Saturday. 

Insurance lawyers for the school district said in a March 31 response to the lawsuit that the district wasn't negligent and isn't 'at fault or culpable.'

Insurance lawyers for the school district said in a March 31 response to the lawsuit that the district wasn't negligent and isn't 'at fault or culpable.'

Insurance lawyers for the school district said in a March 31 response to the lawsuit that the district wasn’t negligent and isn’t ‘at fault or culpable.’

The suspect walked the victim back to class after the rape and passed a security guard, who didn’t say anything, the victim’s family said in it’s lawsuit, which was filed on March 11 this year in Westchester County Supreme Court. 

The victim and suspect had a history with each other, according to the lawsuit.

It claims that the suspect had bullied the victim for more than two years, but the school district never intervened or helped. 

The school district’s response sparked a protest of dozens of parents and students on Saturday outside of New Rochelle High School. 

One of the signs held by a protestor during Saturday's demonstration outside of New Rochelle High School.

One of the signs held by a protestor during Saturday's demonstration outside of New Rochelle High School.

A creative sign alluding to the school district's lawyer's response that said the victim was 'negligent.'

A creative sign alluding to the school district's lawyer's response that said the victim was 'negligent.'

Nearly everyone during Saturday’s protest outside of New Rochelle High School in Westchester County, New York, held creative signs supporting a rape victim. 

They voiced their anger and held signs saying ‘Stop victim blaming.’ 

‘They said this 14-year-old girl, it’s her fault, even though the boy had a history. They knew!’ Lily Benedict, a New Rochelle High School junior who was one of the students who demonstrated, told News12

Mother Kim Benedict said: ‘Instead of spending money on lawyers defending ourselves from our mistakes, perhaps we can put it into training security guards.’ 

Freshman student Iyla Blough said: ‘He should be expelled for assaulting student and probably go to some juvenile detention because that’s what happens in the real world – you go to jail for raping someone.’

Interim New Rochelle School District Superintendent is dealing with backlash from the community over the district's lawyers' response to a student's rape lawsuit.

Interim New Rochelle School District Superintendent is dealing with backlash from the community over the district's lawyers' response to a student's rape lawsuit.

Interim New Rochelle School District Superintendent is dealing with backlash from the community over the district’s lawyers’ response to a student’s rape lawsuit. 

In a statement to the DailyMail.com following the publication of this story, a spokesperson for the school district said: 

‘Although the Board rarely, if ever, comments upon potential or pending litigation, we understand and wish to address the concerns raised by the community concerning a lawsuit that was recently filed and reported upon by the media. As is often the case, we are also limited in our ability to speak openly about particular matters involving individual students due to federal privacy law. At the outset, we want to make clear that we would never blame any victim, particularly a student who has suffered from a sexual assault. Our students’ physical and emotional welfare is, and always has been, our highest priority.

‘The District’s insurance carrier and the law firm appointed by the carrier to defend the District have advised that, in their collective professional opinion, certain steps must be taken in the context of such litigation, at least at this early stage. When we learned of the approach on Friday, we reached out to the law firm appointed by the carrier to review the rationale for this position in an effort to fully understand why it is necessary and/or appropriate. The Board intends to carefully review and consider the approach taken and will continue to revisit this approach throughout the litigation. We will continue to keep the community apprised to the extent legally permissible and appropriate.’  

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