ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The superintendent of Forest Hills Public Schools says that claims the district turned its back on the alleged victim of a sexual assault to protect an athlete are untrue.
In 2010, a female student at Forest Hills Central claimed she was sexually assaulted by a star male athlete. The athlete later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Two months ago, the student filed suit against the district in federal court. The suit claims that the district discouraged the alleged victim and her family from contacting police and that that it didn't properly investigate the sexual assault.
The district said in a 54-page response this week that those claims are not true.
Superintendent Daniel Behm told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday the district acted promptly and appropriately to all accusations made by the victim.
"We're very confident in the actions that our administrators have taken and our school officials have taken, and we welcome the court's full review of this matter and feel we did everything correctly," Behm said.
Police reports obtained by 24 Hour News 8 show the school's principal contacted the liaison officer on the same day the alleged victim came forward with a note she handed to a teacher.
"When this matter was first brought to the attention of the principal, he did two things right away. He called the police and called the parents immediately, and that's what we want to see administrators do in these types of instances," Behm said.
The report also details in-school video showing the alleged victim and suspect walking together before and after leaving the band room. The district has claimed all along that the two appeared to be acting friendly toward one another after the alleged incident took place.
The report details investigators speaking with another female student who had also accused the athlete of sexual assault, but later recanted. It reveals that student knew the first alleged victim and admitted to writing the note the first student gave to the teacher to report the initial assault.
"Our answer shows that anytime any request or allegation was brought forward, we responded to that. We take student safety and well-being as our number one priority," Behm said.
The lawsuit also claims the district turned its back to in-school and online harassment, forcing the alleged victim to transfer schools.
In its response to the suit, the district states it was never able to substantiate harassment claims and that the online postings were anonymous and couldn't be traced.
The district said it did take several steps to prevent the victim in this case from being harassed at school.
One major point in the victim's favor is that the Federal Department of Education Civil Rights Office already completed an investigation that found the district didn't do enough to respond to the sex assault allegations under Title IX.
The superintendent says that investigation lacked key interviews and was incomplete and unfair.
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