Western Courier

Macomb School District sued for $10 mil: Former students claim sexual harassment and assault ignored

Two+former+Macomb+Senior+High+School+students+claim+that+they+had+been+sexually+harassed+and+assaulted+while+students+at+the+school+by+an+unnamed+male+minor.+The+incidents+allegedly+were+reported+to+school+officials+but+not+properly+dealt+with%2C+resulting+in+a+%2410+million+lawsuit+filed+Friday.
Two former Macomb Senior High School students claim that they had been sexually harassed and assaulted while students at the school by an unnamed male minor. The incidents allegedly were reported to school officials but not properly dealt with, resulting in a $10 million lawsuit filed Friday.

Two former Macomb Senior High School students claim that they had been sexually harassed and assaulted while students at the school by an unnamed male minor. The incidents allegedly were reported to school officials but not properly dealt with, resulting in a $10 million lawsuit filed Friday.

BECCA LANGYS/PHOTO EDITOR

BECCA LANGYS/PHOTO EDITOR

Two former Macomb Senior High School students claim that they had been sexually harassed and assaulted while students at the school by an unnamed male minor. The incidents allegedly were reported to school officials but not properly dealt with, resulting in a $10 million lawsuit filed Friday.

Nicholas Ebelhack, editor-in-chief

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A civil suit has been filed against Macomb School District 185, along with the district’s school board, Macomb Senior High School Principal John Rumley and Assistant Principal Ed Fulkerson by two former students in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois on Friday, seeking a jury trial and compensation of $10 million.

The student’s attorney, Jeff Green, claims in the suit that a teen boy, identified as MP, who was a Macomb High School student from 2014 to 2017 sexually assaulted the teen girls. The girls are identified as Jane Doe, who was a minor at the time of the incident, and Jane Roe, who is still a minor. The minor girl’s mother is also mentioned in the suit, noted as Julie Roe.

According to Green’s suit “Defendants received multiple credible reports that MP sexually harassed, assaulted, and violently penetrated Plaintiff Jane Doe, and, two years later, Plaintiff Jane Roe, yet Defendants allowed MP to attend school without discipline or restriction.”

Green claims that the Defendants ignored Jane Doe and her mother’s four separate reports of battery, stalking and serial harassment. When approached by Jane Doe, Rumley allegedly responded “guys are going to do what guys are going to.”

The suit then reads that MP’s sexual misconduct escalated to rape, which Defendants learned of but did not investigate. Fulkerson allegedly told Jane Doe’s mother that “the situation was Jane’s fault, and he would not disrupt his school for ‘girls that accuse people of things

Complaints were then filed against MP again in the fall of 2016, during which time he was a 17-year-old senior, of him sexually battering and raping Jane Roe. Weeks later, MP and Jane Roe encountered each other again at a Macomb Park, where Green claims Roe was sexually assaulted, captured on a nearby security camera.

Defendants were then claimed to have review the evidence, but “took no steps to protect Jane Roe, despite knowing of MP’s previous reported harassment, battery, and violence against Jane Doe and that criminal charges were filed against him for his sexual abuse against Jane Roe.”

Both Jane Doe and Jane Roe would transfer to alternative schools as a result of the incident, which Green claims “offered fewer classes, provided no live classroom interaction with teachers or other students, and where there were no extracurricular activities or clubs.”

The suit additionally claims that Julie Roe provided Fulkerson with a copy of a no contact order, to which Fulkerson rolled his eyes and said “we deal with these all the time,” and Macomb Senior High School would not follow the order and allow MP to continue attending the school.

Instead, the suit says that instead of having MP change his schedule or restrict his activities, Jane Roe was required to “change her schedule and eat lunch in a different location than where she usually had lunch, and for her to wait in each classroom for five minutes after the bell rang before heading to a new class, so she could hopefully avoid encountering MP in the hallways.”

Jane Roe would then transfer to an alternative school. In the summer of 2017, MP agreed to serve a period of time in juvenile detention and issue an apology to Jane Roe to dismiss the criminal case against him. The case then claims that an agreement was made for MP to enter the military after graduation, but was discharged due to misconduct after a week.

Julie Roe made a statement at a hearing on the criminal proceedings against MP.

“I have seen (Jane Roe’s) smile fade,” Julie Roe said. “I have watched her fall into a hole of sadness that I cannot pull her from. While I watched her disappear, you, (MP), have continued your life without interruption. You participated in the school clubs, went to the school dances and extracurricular activities, you graduated and walked at the ceremony to receive your diploma. All those things she has been deprived of, you have continued to enjoy.”

The suit files for seven violations of the law, including violation of the Educational Amendments of 1972, violation of the plaintiffs’ constitutional and federal rights, willful and wanton misconduct under Illinois state law and premises liability under Illinois state law.

The Western Courier reached out to the Macomb School District for comment on Thursday, but they were unavailable for comment. Superintendent Patrick Twomey responded in an interview with the McDonough County Voice in an article published Monday, stating, “the school district has received a copy of the complaint, but has not been formally served. We are reviewing the allegations and do not have any comment at this time.”

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Macomb School District sued for $10 mil: Former students claim sexual harassment and assault ignored