Sanger family sues school district for sexual assault negligence

FRESNO, Calif.

The male student is back at the same school as the victim. Even though attorneys involved in the case say he pleaded to a crime, the legal battle is continuing in civil court. The family of the victim is suing Sanger Unified, claiming the district failed to protect her during a trip to a debate competition.

The lawsuit filed against Sanger Unified School District claims a teenage girl, known as Jane Doe, was assaulted two years ago during a trip to Clovis. If the case is not settled soon, it's set to be heard by a jury.

Court records obtained by Action News accuse the suspect of sexually assaulting the female on a school bus ride back to Sanger High.

"What we've learned through our investigation is that this did occur and it was a very serious incident that apparently hasn't been taken very seriously by Sanger Unified School District," the victims attorney Greg Mullanax said.

The suspect, who is not too identified because he is a minor, is back at Sanger High School.

Monday administrators said they cannot comment on his enrollment status because of the pending lawsuit. The suspect also is the son of a top Sanger Unified administrator. The boy's attorney said the he has served his punishment and received no special treatment. He

"This case underwent closer scrutiny because his father is an administrator, based upon the districts procedure and guidelines, he was allowed to return," the boy's attorney, Jim Peel said.

The district said it cannot reveal the punishment the board imposed on the teenage student. An Action News investigation also revealed the student does not live within Sanger Unified boundaries, but is allowed to attend school here because of his father's employment within the district.

The victim's attorney says what happened was bad enough, running into him daily at school is even worse.

"My client is still going to school there and it upsets her every time she sees him. There seems to be no one on her side here. Everyone is siding with the school district," the victim's attorney said.

The lawsuit also claims the district violated its own policy by not having adequate adult supervision on the bus during the trip. No monetary amount is listed in the lawsuit. If no settlement is reached, the case is set for trial in early March.

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