Alabama middle school “rape bait” case settled

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (CBS News) – Both sides have reached a settlement in an Alabama lawsuit involving a teenager who says she was raped after a school worker tried to use her as bait to catch an alleged sexual predator, court records show.

The agreement means claims against Madison County school officials will be dismissed in exchange for money, reports CBS affiliate WHNT in Huntsville. The amount isn’t being released due to a confidentiality agreement, he said.

The federal case, which stemmed from a 2010 attack inside a bathroom at Sparkman Middle School near Huntsville, has now been dismissed, according to a March 7 order by U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Michael Putnam.

A teacher’s aide had asked the then-14-year-old girl described has having special needs to go into a bathroom at Sparkman Middle so a 16-year-old eighth-grader with a history of sexual harassment could be caught trying to have sex with her and disciplined, the girl’s lawyers have said.

The girl was asked to undertake the task after she complained about the boy harassing her.

The girl was fearful, but the educator advised her to set up a meeting with the eighth-grader in the bathroom, telling her to “just get him to meet you and we’ll catch him,” the complaint states.

The teacher’s aide then monitored security cameras in an assistant principal’s office, but didn’t see either student on the cameras so she returned to her classroom instead of trying to “catch” the eighth-grader. With no one to help her, the girl was left in the bathroom alone with the eighth-grader and was raped, according to the complaint.

Lawyers for the girl did not ask for a specific amount of money, but said that since the rape she has “persisted in an almost non-communicative state.”

“She has been under the consistent care of both a psychologist and a psychiatrist,” they wrote in the complaint. “Her emotional debilitation is likely permanent.”

One of her attorneys, Eric Artrip,, told WHNT: “I think it took a lot of guts for her to bring this lawsuit and go forward the way she has, to have endured almost six years of litigation. Ultimately, I think this case was settled in a way that was satisfactory for her, but more importantly, I think she feels proud of the fact that due to the attention the case gathered, changes have been made, which hopefully will make young women safer in schools.”

*Photo via CBS News

Categories: Regional News, State News – Alabama