Jane Doe’s Attorney: CMS and CMPD still owe my Myers Park High client an apology

Jane Doe’s Attorney: CMS and CMPD still owe my Myers Park High client an apology

It takes courage to speak up after being sexually assaulted on campus. I want to know. After enduring such sexual abuse in college, I became an advocate to help fellow Jane Doe-like women. Myers Park High Case Fighting for justice – which I never got in my own case.

Being sexually assaulted by another person makes you feel humiliated, violated, and humiliated. The weight of victim-blaming rampant in our society adds to the damage above and beyond the already crushing effects of sexual trauma.

As a result, most survivors remain silent as they struggle with shame and self-responsibility even when sexually assaulted It’s never the victim’s fault.

Laura Dunn

Thankfully, Jane Doe didn’t stay silent. She, along with other brave survivors from Myers Park High, has spoken out about sexual assault and continues to fight for justice.

While Jane Doe detailed her abduction and sexual assault during a rape kit at a local hospital on the day of the incident, both the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg school officials took the attacker’s word for what happened, barring any real opportunity. There was justice. Instead of taking ownership for their failure to intervene immediately and prevent her from being taken into the wild, CMS blames the victim — just as they have done in the past.

During the trial, two fellow students gave gut-wrenching testimony about how Myers Park officials, including the school resource officer, did nothing about their 2014 reports of rape by male classmates in the forest.

Instead of addressing the familiar issue of students being sexually assaulted at the forest, both students told the jury that former Myers Park principal Mark Bosco held a student rally to tell female students that they would not be safe if they went to the forest with male students.

By my definition, this is willful indifference. Despite such evidence, the jury chose not to find CMS liable under Title IX in Jane Doe’s case. Their ruling form indicates that although they believe Jane Doe suffered serious, widespread and purposefully offensive sexual harassment, they did not find sufficient evidence of “deliberate indifference” by CMS.

Although Jane Doe did not win a legal victory at trial, she won a moral victory that will help her survive the legal battle on appeal. On February 16, I Filed notice of appeal including the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Justice has yet to be served for him or other survivors who suffered in the jungle near MPHS, but change is already underway. Students, alumni and parents protested CMS schools, and community members demanded that the CMS board do more to educate students on Title IX and investigate reports of sexual misconduct.

Leadership changes between CMS and MPHS indicate that the board understands the need to do more to protect students from campus-based sexual misconduct.

The community demands reform and that must continue until campuses are safe for all Charlotte students.

Survivors should be encouraged that the jury ultimately believed Jane Doe’s account. This means that CMPD and MPHS officials have lost the ability to summarily dismiss students who report sexual harassment on campus. If officials had acted on reports made by earlier victims in 2014, there would not have been an uncontrollable risk of sexual abuse of students in the woods. Basically, they could have prevented the sexual assault of Jane Doe.

Although legal justice is never guaranteed, appropriate response to reports of campus sexual harassment by CMS and CMPD officials can and should be ensured after this trial.

To ensure that Charlotte is safe for all students, the community must stand with survivors and demand more education, training and accountability for officials to ensure they respond appropriately to reports of campus sexual assault in the future.

Although Jane Doe can petition to find liability, CMS and CMPD can choose at any time to make things right with her and other survivors. The CMS Board and the City of Charlotte have every power to admit and apologize for their inadequate response to Jane Doe and other MPHS survivors in order to avoid ongoing legal battles and taxpayer expense.

These survivors deserve some justice, and my firm will continue to fight until that day comes.

Laura L. Dunn, JD, is the Washington, DC attorney who represented Jane Doe in court in Charlotte.

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