NEW YORK — When an intellectually disabled student reported that she was the victim of an on-campus gang rape, city Education Department officials responded by suspending the accuser from school and sweeping the case under the rug, a federal lawsuit charges.
The girl, who wants to remain anonymous, has an IQ of just 71 and possessed an unblemished disciplinary record when she was coerced into a stairwell at troubled Teacher Preparatory High School in Brooklyn and forced to perform sex acts on a group of male students, according to the suit.
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But instead of properly punishing her assailants, school officials suspended the girl for engaging in sexual activity at school, the suit says.
And this happened despite the fact that one of her attackers was later arrested by police, the girl’s attorney said.
“My client is a 15-year-old girl of color on public assistance with a severe developmental disorder who was gang raped at her Brooklyn school and then suspended for it,” said Carrie Goldberg, the prominent attorney who’s litigating the case.
According to the suit, the girl was walking through a school hallway to see a teacher on Feb. 5, 2016, when seven male students surrounded her.
One of the students grabbed the girl by the arm and pulled her into an unmonitored stairwell, where the teens pushed her to her knees and forced her to perform a sex act on two of them.
Six days later, the traumatized teen reported the incident to a counselor. But after a 24-hour investigation, school officials decided the incident was consensual and suspended the girl.
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Education Department officials wouldn’t say if any of male students who attacked the girl were also suspended, citing privacy laws.
One of them was arrested and charged with sexual misconduct and sexual assault but because the case was sealed, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office wouldn’t provide the outcome of the charges.
Education Department officials reversed the suspension almost two months after the incident but the girl never recovered.
She suffers from extreme anxiety, sleeplessness, hair loss, skin rashes, anger issues, and PTSD, among other injuries.
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