Anchorage schools hit with sex suit

Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2005

ANCHORAGE - A second lawsuit has been filed against the Anchorage School District over what plaintiffs claim was a sexual assault of their 7-year-old daughter in an elementary school.

The lawsuit seeks at least $100,000 as well as changes in district and children's welfare policies "concerning sexually aggressive and inappropriate conduct and behavioral problems of students to protect other children."

Attorney Robert Herz filed the lawsuit in Superior Court, claiming the girl was molested by a 7-year-old male classmate last fall. According to the lawsuit, the sexual assault occurred Oct. 1 in a part of the children's classroom that could not be seen by the teacher.

In addition to the district, the principal of the school and the classroom teacher, the lawsuit names as a defendant the state Department of Health and Social Services Office of Children's Services. The office knew of sexually inappropriate behavior by the young boy before the assault and did not inform the district, the plaintiffs contend.

The alleged assault occurred after both the teacher and principal denied a request by the girl's mother to transfer the boy to another classroom because the mother felt that he "had become fixated on (her daughter) and had begun to sexually harass (her)," according to the lawsuit.

The mother previously had expelled the boy from her day care program and notified children's welfare authorities when he "engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct directed toward" her daughter, the lawsuit says.

The children and families involved are referred to in the lawsuit by their initials. The principal, teacher and school where the alleged incident occurred are not named.

This is the second lawsuit against the district concerning an alleged sexual assault in an elementary school last fall.

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