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Upstate Elementary School Sexual Assault Case Headed For Trial

Saga of Shoally Creek Elementary set to have its day in court …

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A trial is likely to be scheduled this fall in connection with a pair of lawsuits filed against a government-run school district in Spartanburg County, South Carolina alleging sexual assaults in the classroom … of an elementary school.

According to the complaints, educrats running this district “failed to correct sexually suggestive and inappropriate behavior of second grade students being perpetrated on other second grade students.”

You read that right … second grade.

The lawsuits were filed in the S.C. seventh judicial circuit by attorney Tyler Rody of Spartanburg, S.C. on behalf of Ansley Lane and Casey Gillespie – and also on behalf of two minor children under their guardianship.

Filed in June 2022, the lawsuits claim two minor children were sexually assaulted by another minor child “while in the computer lab” of Shoally Creek Elementary School, a government-run school in Boiling Springs, S.C. Shoally Creek is part of Spartanburg County school district two – one of seven school districts in Spartanburg County.

The two minor children were in second grade at the time of the initial alleged assaults – which reportedly took place on November 5, 2021.

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Two days later, on November 7, 2021, Gillespie wrote an email to former Shoally Creek principal Laura Meyer, school guidance counselor Rebekah Robinson and second grade teacher Erin Watson to notify them of what transpired. She copied Lane on that email.

Gillespie never received a response from Meyer or Robinson, according to her lawsuit (.pdf), but Watson responded to the email by stating that one of the two alleged victims had informed her the child in question “could not keep his hands to himself,” but that she had “no idea he had touched them in private parts.”

According to both lawsuits, Watson subsequently went on maternity leave in early February 2022 and a substitute teacher – Cara Thompson – replaced her in the classroom. Shortly thereafter, another alleged assault occurred.

On February 8, 2022, the minor child who allegedly perpetrated the November 2021 assault “held a pencil near their crotches and stroked the pencil in a sexually suggestive manner while looking at (the two children).”

The following day, February 9, 2022, Lane and Gillespie “had a phone conference meeting” with principal Meyer. At that meeting, “they discussed the sexual assault incidents occurring in the classroom and the behavior of the minor children demonstrating sexually suggestive and disruptive acts in the classroom.” Meyer purportedly “informed the parents that she would take appropriate action to end the sexual assaults and disruptive behavior occurring in the classroom,” the lawsuits alleged.

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The alleged behavior did not end, though. According to the lawsuits, under Thompson and another substitute teacher – Katelyn Nicholson – multiple additional incidents took place in the subsequent weeks with one of the students being “consistently sexually assaulted.”

Both substitutes resigned their posts during the period the alleged sexual abuse took place, the lawsuits stated. On March 23, 2022, Lane removed the minor child under her care from Shoally Creek on the advice of the child’s pediatrician – opting for “at-home learning.”

News of the two lawsuits was first reported by Bethany Fowler of WSPA TV-7 (CBS – Greenville/ Spartanburg).

According to the complaints, school and district officials knew the two children were “at risk of being sexually assaulted again” following the initial incident “yet chose not to take any action to prevent further assaults.”

Our media outlet has received additional information related to this story that we are in the process of investigating. Stay tuned for more in future reports …

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THE LAWSUITS …

(S.C. Seventh Judicial Circuit)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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