attorney

District Failed to Protect Teen From Football Team Rape: Lawsuit

A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of a 14-year-old high school freshman who says she was raped and subsequently threatened by several members of the Culver City High School football team says the district failed to protect her from repeated on-campus assaults.

The rapes, which the suit says were recorded and shared with other students, were so devastating to the girl that she attempted suicide, according to the lawsuit. She transferred schools to avoid the trauma of going to school with her abusers, the suit claims.

The suit names the Culver City Unified School District and three then-upperclassmen, one of whom was convicted of a sex crime in connection with the attacks, which the suit says occurred in December 2013. The district should have prevented the alleged attacks and subsequent bullying, according to the claim.

"Had she even said 'yes,' had it been consensual, an adult is still on the hook," said the girl's attorney, Judith Yedidsion. "Lack of supervision, lack of proper security, lack of the patrolling the campus."

The suit includes detailed information about the arrest and conviction of Jeremy Weaver, who was 18 years old at the time of the assault, according to the suit.

Weaver was arrested in January 2014 and convicted of felony oral copulation with a minor and preventing a witness from reporting a crime, according to court records. Weaver pleaded no contest and was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to stay away from the victim, according to the LA County District Attorney's Office.

The suit alleges that the district was "negligent" and "failed to provide supervision." The district, according to the suit, should have known about the conduct of the alleged aggressors and was therefore "aware of the potential danger and direct threat" to all students, including the victim, and "failed to take reasonable and appropriate measures to protect students."

The district superintendent on Tuesday released a statement regarding the suit.

"We recently became aware of a lawsuit that was filed against the Culver City Unified District regarding an incident in December, 2013. CCUSD and our entire community believe the health, welfare and safety of our students is paramount, and we responded immediately and cooperatively to this incident with the Culver City Police Department," Superintendent Dave Larose said in the statement.

"While I cannot comment about specific details regarding the allegations contained in the lawsuit, our District will remain unwavering in our commitment to protect the children we serve and respond aggressively to any action that challenges this priority."

The suit, filed by the girl's guardian on Jan. 14, details several assaults that allegedly took place between Dec. 4 and Dec. 22, 2013, including "rape, physical assault, sexual molestation, sexual battery (and) mental and emotional distress."

The attacks began after the football players allegedly coerced the girl, who remains anonymous, to "hang out" in the school's parking lot when school was in session. There, two of the students sexually assaulted her, the lawsuit claims.

The sexual assaults allegedly continued on school grounds for the next several days, according to the suit.

Video of the assaults were sent to other students around the school, contributing to rumors about the girl's "promiscuity," according to the lawsuit. One hundred additional unnamed people are also named as defendants for allegedly contributing to bullying of the girl.

The girl continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, sleeplessness and anxiety as a result of the attacks, the suit claims.

Her attorney, Yedidsion, said the girl changed schools twice and eventually moved out of state to escape the taunting.

The lawsuit seeks general damages for emotional distress, physical pain and mental suffering, as well as special damages for loss of earnings and medical and psychological care.

Gordon Tokumatsu contributed to this report.

Contact Us