Several high school girls — dubbed "mean girls" — claimed a male student sexually assaulted them because they “just don’t like him.” Now the school district and district attorney are facing heat over the fact that neither punished the young women at all.
Now the boy’s parents, Michael J. and Alicia Flood, are suing the parents of the five girls and the Seneca Valley School District in Pennsylvania over their son’s treatment. They say in their 26-page lawsuit their son “was forced to endure multiple court appearances, detention in a juvenile facility, detention at home, the loss of his liberty, and other damages until several of the girls reluctantly admitted that their accusations were false.”
Their son is now being homeschooled due to the bullying he received, including signs taped to his back without his knowledge that said “predator,” according to the lawsuit which was filed last week.
“[The boy] was basically being tortured in school by other students and investigators, but the administration was only focused on protecting the girls who were lying,” the Floods’ attorney, Craig Fishman, told Penn Live. “Once the allegations were proven false, they didn’t really care one bit about [the male student] and there has been absolutely no repercussions against the girls.”
One of the girls decided to accuse the boy of sexually assaulting her while he worked as a lifeguard in July 2017 because, according to a taped interview obtained by Fishman: “I just don’t like him.” She has been identified only as “K.S.” in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states the girl told classmates in October 2017 “she would do anything to get [the boy] expelled” so she accused him of sexually assaulting her at the pool. A friend of K.S. who worked at the pool, Megan Villegas, claimed she was present during the assault. Villegas is the only named defendant and is a graduate of Seneca Valley High School, where the other students attend.
It worked, as the boy was charged with indecent assault and two counts of harassment based on the girl’s word. The boy and his parents agreed to a consent decree that allowed him to avoid admitting guilt and required him to stay out of trouble for six months while on probation.
Several months later, in March 2018, a friend of the first accuser, identified only as C.S., claimed the boy entered her house without her permission and sexually assaulted her. Two more friends, identified as E.S. and H.R., backed up her claim. In April, the accused student was charged with another indecent assault, criminal trespass, and simple assault.
He was expelled and arrested and identified as a threat to his community. He spent nine days in a juvenile detention center and then placed on house arrest.
"After 28 days, [the boy] was only allowed out of his home to mow his lawn," the lawsuit states.
In May, three of the girls admitted they lied, but it took until August 30 for Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger to dismiss the second accusation, and until September 10 to close the charges related to the first accusation.
"The Butler County District Attorney's office promised to file a petition to expunge the record of [the male student] in September, but has not yet done so, providing further evidence of gender-based discrimination,” the lawsuit says. “The (district attorney) has refused to file criminal charges against K.S., Villegas, C.S., E.S. and H.R. due to gender-based discrimination.”
The school has also not punished the students who made the false accusation, according to the lawsuit.
"[The accused student] has had psychological trauma because of all this. He's had to see a psychologist to deal with the physical symptoms which are the direct result of being accused of something when he did not do anything wrong," Fishman, the family attorney, said.
The boy’s parents are seeking unspecified damages from the parents of the girls, the school district, and Goldinger’s office.
The school district remains steadfast in its treatment of the boy, claiming the lawsuit was filed “without merit.”
“We have followed all applicable laws, and we will vigorously defend ourselves throughout the process,” a district spokesman said in a statement released Monday. “The number-one priority of the Seneca Valley School District is the safety and well-being of our students, staff, parents, and volunteers who enter our buildings. We have policies and procedures in place to protect individuals, and we communicate to all employees on these policies and work hard every day to provide a safe and caring learning environment for all.”
Kassy Dillon contributed to this report.