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WV Attorney General Files Suit Over Mingo School Abuse Allegations

Reported: May. 8, 2014 1:41 PM EDT
Updated: May. 8, 2014 11:01 PM EDT
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DELBARTON, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) -- The West Virginia attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Mingo County school officials claiming they brushed aside allegations that two male students sexually abused female classmates.

The lawsuit also claims school officials interfered with a State Police investigation of the incidents.

The lawsuit said administrators at Burch Middle School retaliated against the girls for reporting the allegations.

Defendants include the principal, vice principal, a coach and the Mingo County school board.

A sign at Burch Middle School reads, “Helping Young People Excel” and “Character Counts At Burch Middle School,” so why then, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wants to know, did allegations of sexual abuse and sexual assault by two middle school boys on multiple female juvenile classmates go unreported?

"We take that very, very seriously," Morrisey said.

The Human Rights Commission called Morrisey, who filed the injunction.

"We wanted to file the injunction, so that, number one: the human rights laws are getting enforced,” Morrisey said. “Two: that school policy is actually being adhered to, and three: that there's no more unlawful conduct between the defendants and the juveniles."

One female student victim claims one boy restrained her in a chair, while the other boy fondled her in the school's computer room upstairs at Burch Middle School. Another juvenile female student claims she was forced into sexual intercourse, while on a school trip to Charleston. And still another victim said she was molested on a Mingo County bus, all at the hands of the same two boys.

"I've heard that it was some of the sixth grade and some of the eighth grade," Linda Daniels, 13, who is a seventh grader at Burch Middle School, said.

Daniels said she hasn’t encountered any of the abuse, and, when asked what she would do in the situation, she replied, “I'd probably punch them to be honest."

Daniel’s father, Randall Bishop, was livid when told about the accusations of sexual abuse to girls her age.

"They [teachers] weren't doing their jobs to protect the children,” Bishop said.

He outlined his course of action, had any of the abuse happened to his daughter.

“Oh, she wouldn't be back to school here,” Bishop said. “I'd have taken her out of school immediately and got a hold of my attorneys."

The injunction also claims the female students were being punished for speaking up about the sexual abuse. And the most recent disciplining of one of those female students, by teachers and staff, was about two weeks ago.

The case is still a civil matter. Morrisey said criminal charges will most likely be filed, once the case progresses.




CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is suing Mingo County school officials, claiming they brushed aside allegations that two male students sexually abused female classmates.

The lawsuit also claims school officials interfered with a State Police investigation of the incidents.

The lawsuit said administrators at Burch Middle School retaliated against the girls for reporting the allegations.

Defendants include the principal, vice principal, a coach and the Mingo County School Board.

Lt. Michael Baylous said State Police are investigating at least one incident. Baylous said the Crimes Against Children Unit is handling the case. He said State Police are uncertain if there are any more incidents, but that is something that investigators are checking out.

Burch Principal Melissa Webb and the school board's attorney declined to comment.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday asks Mingo County Circuit Court to prevent further abuse and retaliation, and to bar defendants from interfering with the police investigation.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The West Virginia attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Mingo County school officials claiming they brushed aside allegations that two male students sexually abused female classmates.

The lawsuit also claims school officials interfered with a State Police investigation of the incidents.

The lawsuit said administrators at Burch Middle School retaliated against the girls for reporting the allegations.

Defendants include the principal, vice principal, a coach and the Mingo County school board.

The lawsuit alleged the abuses occurred on a school bus, at the school and on a field trip.

School officials and a state police spokesman did not immediately return telephone messages Thursday.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday asks Mingo County Circuit Court to prevent further abuse and retaliation, and to bar defendants from interfering with the police investigation.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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