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5-Year-Old Richland One Student Frequently Sexually Assaulted On School Bus, Lawsuit Says

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A Columbia, South Carolina mother is suing her 5-year-old daughter’s school district after video footage showed her daughter was sexually assaulted and harassed multiple times on a school bus earlier this year, according to a lawsuit filed last week.

The girl’s mother — called “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit to protect the privacy of her daughter — filed the personal injury lawsuit against Richland County District One on Oct. 8.

Jane Doe’s daughter, a pre-school student at Brennen Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina, told her mother in February that an older boy on the bus pulled his penis out, asked her to perform oral sex, and shoved her head down when she refused, the lawsuit said.

Jane Doe and her daughter then reported the sexual assault to Brennan Elementary School administrators, according to the lawsuit.

After reviewing camera footage from the student’s bus, “Brennen Elementary School administrators learned that (the female student) was frequently sexually assaulted by an identifiable older male student while she was sitting within a one seat distance from the bus driver,” the lawsuit said.

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The lawsuit stated that video footage revealed the following incidents:

  • On Feb. 12, 2020, the older male student was sitting next to the 5-year-old girl and she raised her hand and told the bus driver, just a few feet away, that the boy touched her butt.
  • On Feb. 18, 2020, the older male student was “grinding up against” the 5-year-old while they were near the bus driver.
  • Minutes later on Feb. 18, 2020, the older male student grabbed the 5-year-old by the chin and kissed her lips right before he got off the bus.
  • On Feb. 20, 2020, the older boy student put his arm around the girl’s neck, pulled her head toward his lap as she “struggled to fight back” while they were sitting directly behind the bus driver.

The lawsuit did not state whether or not administration disciplined the driver or the boy after the incidents.

Jane Doe’s attorney argues that the older male student should have been separated and sitting in the back of the bus away from the female preschool students, according to policy.

The lawsuit claims that Richland One had a duty to prevent the older boy from frequently sexually assaulting and harassing the 5-year-old female student.

Jane Doe and her daughter both “suffered and will in the future suffer severe pain, permanent emotional distress, humiliation, mental anguish, indignity, loss of pleasures and enjoyment of life which will in the future require psychological and psychiatric medical care and treatment,” the lawsuit claims.

They are suing Richland One for negligence, outrage, premise liability, and negligent hiring and supervision.

Columbia attorney Tyler D. Bailey is representing Jane Doe and her daughter in the lawsuit.

The scandal-scarred Richland One school district has been rocked by multiple controversies this year.

Here are some links to previous coverage of the Richland One school district:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Mandy Matney

Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].

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