Woodbridge Girl Reports Sex Abuse after ‘Flirting’ Assembly
– May 9, 2012 8:00 am
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A female student reported she was inappropriately touched by a male student during class at Woodbridge Middle School.
The 12-year-old student went to the school’s guidance staff about noon last Wednesday, May 2, to report that a male student had touched her breasts, through her shirt, at least 30 times since the beginning of the school year, according to the victim’s father whose name is being witheld for the safety of the alleged victim.
The incidents happened inside of a classroom at the school in Woodbridge when a teacher was not looking, said the victim’s father. The child reported the incidents after the school’s guidance staff presented an informational program to the school’s seventh-grade students called “Flirting or Hurting: When it is OK or When it is Harassment.”
Following her report, school officials began their investigation and began interviewing parties involved, which is standard procedure in many cases, said Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits.
“The SRO could be brought in immediately, or there may be some more questions to ascertain to find ‘what is the story here.’ In other words, we want to make sure that there is something to forward with and report, and it is all something that happens very, very quickly as a priority,” said Kavits.
The victim’s father, a law enforcement officer, said his daughter was confronted by the male student at school even after she filed her report. He was also upset when he learned that during the initial investigation by school officials, she was brought to the main office where she once again saw the male student who allegedly touched her.
The victim’s father said that the male student has been suspended from school, but added that he felt the school principal was initially slow to respond to his questions posed that afternoon on how his daughter’s case was being handled. After he learned the victim’s father was a police officer the principal called and apologized, the victim’s father added.
“Despite the fact [the principal] called and apologized to me, I appreciated that as a man, but I can’t only be [the girl’s father] because of my profession. So when I process things and I manage them in my mind I’m doing it from the perspective of someone who is familiar with the legal system,” said the victim’s father.
Concerned about the qualifications of the school staff that were initially called to investigate his daughter’s claim, the victim’s father called police, and a Prince William police detective was at the school by 7 a.m. the next morning. Kavits confirms police are now handling the entire investigation after school officials handed it over to them.
According to the victim’s father, multiple students came forward to report abuse following the “Flirting or Hurting” assembly. The intention of the program is to familiarize students with the signs of inappropriate touching and to urge those who have been victimized to come forward in private so their claims can be investigated, said Kavits.
This latest report follows a similar program put on at Marumsco Hills Elementary School in Woodbridge where last month a teacher was charged after police said she failed to report, within the state mandated 72-hour timeframe, that two students told her about being sexually abused off of school property. Kavits said the 72-hour mandate will soon be changed to a 24-hour time frame, but added the case at Woodbridge Middle School was handled immediately.
*This story has been corrected