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US outrage as special needs girl raped in 'bait' trap

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The girl was allegedly persuaded by a teaching aide to tell the boy to meet her for sex in a school lavatory where teachers would be waiting to protect her.

The girl was allegedly persuaded by a teaching aide to tell the boy to meet her for sex in a school lavatory where teachers would be waiting to protect her.

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The girl was allegedly persuaded by a teaching aide to tell the boy to meet her for sex in a school lavatory where teachers would be waiting to protect her.

A teenager with special needs was raped after being used as "bait" by her teachers to entrap a schoolboy sex predator.

The US Department of Justice, the Department of Education and the family of the 14-year-old victim are all now suing Madison County School Board in Alabama over the incident, which her lawyer said has had a "devastating " effect on her life.

She was assaulted at Sparkman Middle School in January 2010 after complaining to her teachers that a 16-year-old fellow student had repeatedly asked her for sex.

School principal Ronnie Blairis is understood to have said that no action could be taken unless the boy was "caught in the act", and the school's policy required there to be proof in cases where students alleged misconduct against each other.

The girl was allegedly persuaded by June Simpson, a teaching aide, to tell the boy to meet her for sex in a school lavatory, where teachers would be waiting to protect her.

She is believed to have been reluctant to go along with the plan, which the school's vice-principal Jeanne Dunaway was allegedly informed of and did not seek to prevent, but eventually agreed and made contact with the boy.

However, he arranged to meet her elsewhere in the school building, and before the teachers could come to her aid he raped her. A medical examination found injuries consistent with her being assaulted.

According to legal documents filed as part of the case, the boy had been involved in at least 15 suspected incidents involving violence or unwanted sexual attention, and had been recommended for constant surveillance after allegedly having sex with a girl in a school lavatory.

The court papers say: "School administrators knew the student's extensive history of sexual and violent misconduct and were alerted to the substantial risk he posed."

Yet when the girl complained to Simpson, the brief goes on, he encouraged her to: "meet (the boy) in the bathroom where teachers could be positioned to 'catch him in the act' before anything happened."

Eric Artrip, the girl's lawyer, told CNN: "Something went wrong" after the boy arranged to meet the girl in a bathroom in a different part of the school.

"She stalled for time. She continually tried to fight him off but ultimately was... raped by this young man. It was evident that this had been a severe trauma for her. It has essentially devastated her life."

The boy was not prosecuted despite the medical evidence because prosecutors said they did not have a good enough case and the girl was unwilling to discuss the matter. Her mother died soon afterwards and she went to live in care in another state.

According to the brief, after viewing photographs of her injuries, the school's other vice principal, Teresa Terrell: "testified that she didn't know whether (the girl) had consented to the assault."

Dunaway testified that the girl was responsible for herself once she entered the bathroom, according to the document

The federal government has filed a rare "amicus brief," a legal argument offered to the court by someone who is not a party to the case, on the grounds that the school, in its capacity as a recipient of federal funds is "liable for [its] deliberate indifference to known acts of peer sexual harassment". The Women's Law Centre and 32 other organisations all also submitted briefs to the Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Simpson resigned soon after the incident, but Blair and Terrell still work at Sparkman Middle School, while Dunaway is now the principal of a nearby school. (© Daily Telegraph)

Irish Independent