Mother claims sex offender slips through unlocked school door, assaults daughter

By Kelly Holleran | Jan 13, 2009

A mother of a Cahokia elementary school student claims her daughter was assaulted last year after being taken out of Lalumier Elementary School through an unlocked door, according to a lawsuit filed Jan. 9 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Precilla M. Rice claims the offender slipped through an unaligned door that failed to close in a locked position on Jan. 15, 2008.

She is suing the school, District No. 187 and several school employees, claiming they are negligent for allowing a sex offender to have access to the school and her daughter.

Because of the assault, the girl's bones, discs, joints, muscles, tendons, tissues, nerves, membranes, ligaments and vessels were severely bruised contused, lacerated, sprained, strained, cracked, wrenched, swollen, weakened, twisted and torn, Rice claims.

Rice incurred medical expenses and the girl experienced pain, suffering and discomfort, according to the complaint.

The school district and its employees had a duty to exercise ordinary care to see that the property was reasonably safe for the use of children on the property, the suit states.

However, "the defendants had a condition on the building which presented an unreasonable risk of harm to the children on the property in the form of a door that was out of alignment and would not close or lock," the suit states.

The school, the school district and their employees were negligent by failing to repair and maintain the door so it would close in a locked position, Rice claims.

In addition, they negligently failed to supervise the girl; failed to limit the entrance and exit of third-party people into and out of the school; failed to monitor unlocked doors; failed to have school personnel posted at doorways when doors failed to lock; and violated school policies, procedures and protocols regarding doors being locked, regarding the departure of minor children with unauthorized individuals and regarding the entrance of unauthorized people into the school, according to the complaint.

In the four-count suit, Rice is seeking a judgment in excess of $200,000, plus costs.

Christopher Hoffmann of The Hoffmann Law Firm in St. Louis will be representing Rice.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-0009.

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