Student expelled from Michigan high school after reporting rape by star athlete, lawsuit alleges

Posted at 2:24 PM, Feb 06, 2017

A new lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that a female student at a Warren, Michigan high school was expelled after reporting being sexually assaulted by a "star athlete" at the school.

According to the lawsuit, filed by Salvatore Prescott & Porter, the victim, identified as Jane Doe, was 15 years old and a freshman at Cousino High School when it happened. Defendants in the lawsuit include Warren Consolidated Schools, the assistant principal at Cousino, superintendent and the executive director, student and family liaison for Warren Consolidated Schools.

The lawsuit alleges that the relationship between Jane Doe, and the alleged suspect, identified as John Roe, began toward the beginning of her freshman year. 

According to the suit, on May 15, 2015, John Roe, who was 18 at the time, approached Jane Doe and asked if she wanted to go to his car. The lawsuit states that she agreed, and when they got to the car, they went into the backseat where he locked the doors. 

While in the backseat, the lawsuit says he unbuckled his pants, pushed them away and asked for oral sex.

"Jane Doe started to comply with John Roe's demand, but then told him it was 'gross' and that she wanted to stop," the lawsuit says. "John Roe said, 'oh well,' and then he forcibly pushed Jane Doe's head down toward his lap and forced her mouth onto his penis."

Two days later, the lawsuit alleges that the school questioned Jane about the incident. When she told officials what happened, the lawsuit says the assistant principal "responded by criticizing Jane Doe's clothing, intimating that Jane Doe invited unwanted sexual attention because of the way she was dressed."

Eventually, the assistant principal took Jane Doe to see a counselor at the school, where she filled out a witness statement form.

The lawsuit says she was not allowed to talk to her parents before being questioned, or not even given the opportunity to have them there while she was questioned.

After being questioned by officials, the lawsuit says she was nervous and sad, especially after being threatened with expulsion. "She reached out to John Roe and told him, falsely, that she hadn't said anything to the school administrators. She did not want him to retaliate against her, or to spread rumors about her," the lawsuit said.

Officials then questioned John Roe about the incident, who said the oral sex was consensual, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, the district expelled Jane Doe on June 29, 2015. During the appeal, the lawsuit says panelists asked Jane questions like "Do you feel remorseful for your actions? and said do not "let this incident define you," before upholding her suspension.

The lawsuit says Jane suffered significantly over the past year, having to attend virtual schools, alternative schools and dealing with credit issues.