Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Student, mother, claim basketball players forced disrobing, filmed, shared; School district denies liability

State Court

By John Breslin | Oct 15, 2019


EDWARDSVILLE -  A middle school student claims he was attacked and forced to take his clothes off, after which filmed video was sent to others via a cell phone, according to a circuit court complaint.

Jane Doe, on behalf of her minor son, John Doe, is suing Madison Community Unit School District #12, claiming it was willful and wanton for failing to protect the student when staff knew, or should have known, he was in danger of being a target.

The school district denies liability for the alleged December 2018, incident during an away basketball trip by the Madison Middle School team. It also claimed immunity under local government statutes, and, without admitting any liability, alleges the minor plaintiff was at least half responsible for the alleged incident.

The next hearing related to the action, filed in Madison County Circuit Court, will be a case management conference before Judge Dave Dugan on Oct. 17.

According to the complaint, John Doe, with his team mates, attended a basketball tournament in Bradley, Illinois. They were bused to the tournament by the district and stayed at a Comfort Inn in Bourbannais.

On the evening on Dec. 15, it is claimed the minor plaintiff was held down by other students and "forcibly disrobed" while being filmed. The video was sent to class mates via cell phone, the complaint states.

The district knew, or should have known, that the "male students left along with John Doe" would force him to take his clothes off or cause injury, it is charged.

It is further alleged that John Doe was "previously accosted" in the school gym and "forcilby disrobed." The mother complained to teachers and coaches, the complaint states.

The district allegedly failed to supervise the activities of students when it knew the student faced harm, it is claimed, with the complaint adding that it was "willful and wanton" for failing to abide by Illinois codes on bullying.

John Doe has "suffered serious, painful, and permanent injuries of emotional and physical nature," as well as "mental anguish."

The minor plaintiff is seeking damages of more than $50,000, while his mother is also suing under the provisions of the Family Expenses Act after she claims to have paid medical costs to care for her child.

Defendant, the Madison City school district, is claiming immunity under multiple provisions of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, which was enacted "to protect local public entities and public employees from liability arising from the operation of government."

The defendant is represented by Donald J. Ohl of Knapp, Ohl & Green of Edwardsville.

Plaintffs are represented by John Hustava of Collinsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 2019-L-699.

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Madison Community Unit School District 12

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