NY AG: Niagara Wheatfield School District ‘deliberately and callously ignored complaints of rape’

(WIVB) — The state attorney general is suing the Niagara Wheatfield Central School district for turning a blind eye to complaints of gender-based bullying, harassment and sexual assault.

The lawsuit, which was filed on June 23, describes a culture of rape, sexual assault, harassment and gender-based bullying — both in-person and through social media — in the district’s middle school and high schools. 

The lawsuit highlighted several incidents including the 2018 student-on-student rape. The perpetrator plead guilty in 2019 and is serving 10 years probation. The lawyer for the victim’s family says they’re working with the AG’s office on the lawsuit and they are looking into filing a parallel lawsuit of their own.

In addition to that incident, the AG’s office says there’s been at least 30 other complaints of sexual harassment, harassment and gender-based bullying.

Some of the other incidents mapped out in the lawsuit include: A female student said she was bullied in middle school and in high school. Among other things, was mocked for her clothing, called gay, transgender, fat and ugly. She stopped attending school and according to the lawsuit has not been back since.

The AG’s office is asking the district to create new policies for handling sexual assault and a written safety plan for victims of harassment and assault. 

District Superintendent Daniel G. Ljiljanich said in a statement: “The Niagara Wheatfield Central School District was made aware by the media that the New York State Attorney General’s office has filed a suit against the District in federal court.  The District will respond to any allegations through the court proceeding and will not provide additional comment due to this pending litigation.”

View the court documents below:

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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