Father of special needs child sues over sexual assault

By Steve Gonzalez | Apr 26, 2005

The father of a special needs child is suing East St. Louis Senior High School claiming it failed to prevent an alleged sexual assault against his son.

According to a complaint filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court, the incident took place in a boys' restroom at the school on March 29. In order to protect identities, the case was filed under John Doe Jr., on behalf of his minor son, John Doe III.

Represented by Richard Reed of Belleville, the plaintiffs are seeking at least $100,000 from the school as well as the student's teacher and the security company which guards the school.

Doe alleges that the school failed to monitor students who were known to have sexually or physically assaulted or abused fellow students.

He also blames teacher Romona Gardener for allowing his son to go to the restroom unattended. An older student allegedly violently assaulted Doe III.

As a result, Doe claims his son suffered injuries to various parts of his body, severe emotional and psychological trauma, and irreparable injury to his reputation.

Doe states he has incurred expenses for medical and psychological care and will, in the future, incur additional expenses for medical and psychological care.

A restraining order and injunction prohibiting the school from erasing video tape surveillance also is being sought by the plaintiffs.

Circuit Judge Richard Aguirre agreed and issued a restraining order against District 189 and all employees not to erase, delete, or destroy any recordings made from the high school on March 29. Aguirre also ordered all tapes to be delivered to the court for safekeeping and inspection.

A hearing has been set for May 2 at 9 a.m. in courtroom 407 with Judge Aguirre.

05 L 247 (20th Circuit)

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