published Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Lawsuit alleges students raped boy at school

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Middle Tennessee mother has filed a federal lawsuit alleging her 5-year-old son was raped by older students in the bathroom of an elementary school.

The lawsuit says the rapes occurred last month while the boy attended an after-school program in the Robertson County school district.

According to the suit, a Cheatham Park Elementary School teacher found the child engaging in sex acts with an older male student and told the mother when she arrived to pick up her son. The suit says the boy told his mother that the older student had raped him previously by enticing him with money and toys. He also said a second older student had raped him.

The suit, which was filed last week in Nashville, asks for unspecified monetary damages.

The school system declined to comment to The Tennessean on the pending litigation.

Springfield Police Chief David Thompson said the allegations were investigated by his department, the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and prosecutors, but no charges were filed.

"All of the suspects and victims were juveniles, and I think a major part of the reason that no one decided to prosecute was because they are so young," he said.

Attorney Melissa Blackburn, who is representing the mother, said the boy is no longer attending an after-school program and has begun counseling.

"We have represented children who have experienced sexual traumas for many years," she said. "They all have anger issues. They all have behavioral issues. They don't want to go to school. They act out. They all seem to exhibit the same behaviors, and this child is exhibiting all these behaviors."

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