The trial in a federal civil suit against Lewisville ISD continued in Sherman today with testimony by the father of a girl who says she was drugged and raped as a 14-year-old freshman at Hebron 9th grade campus in 2012. The alleged rape occurred at an off-campus party. The girl’s school guidance counselor also testified.
Although a Denton County grand jury declined to indict the boys accused in that case, the girl and her family are suing the boys in state district court, and the school district in federal court. The school district is being sued for an alleged violation of Title IX federal law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, and requires school districts to protect students on campus.
The courts have identified the girl and her alleged attackers only by their initials since all were minors at the time of the incident. The Lewisville Texan Journal is not publishing any names of the minors involved.
The Sherman Denison Herald Democrat’s Jerrie Whiteley reports that the girl’s father spent hours on the witness stand Monday and Tuesday and broke down in tears numerous times while talking about what his daughter endured. He also explained more about the timing of how they saw their daughter instantly change after the assault, and how they came to find out about what happened.
According to the Herald Democrat, the father testified that the school counselor urged them not to take the allegations forward against the boys who were on the school’s football team because of how “ugly” it could get. His impression was that she was more concerned about the boys than his daughter, and that they had barely returned home from meeting with her when they received a fax with a list of schools the girl could transfer to.
Lewisville ISD lawyers cross-examined him, asking about emails the father sent praising certain school district personnel for helping. The father said he had been naive.
The Herald Democrat article says that the girl’s guidance counselor, Debra Whitehead then took the stand, and flatly refuted the claim that she had urged them not to go against the football team. As to the lack of a Title IX investigation, Whitehead said she had nothing to investigate at that time, and had intended to interview the girl, but that the girl had never returned to the school. Whitehead said that her heart went out to the girl, and she wanted to help but didn’t have anything to go on. The article says the exchange between Whitehead and the plaintiff’s attorney ended up with both of them upset, and the attorney practically screaming at her.
For much more detail on the testimony from Tuesday, please read the article from the Herald Democrat.
The trial continues Wednesday.