Local News

Tuesday, Nov 26 2013 04:59 PM

Lawsuit filed against two students who allegedly attacked girl on bus

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    In this November 21, 2013, file photo, Fruitvale School District Superintendent Mary Westendorf answers a few concerned parents' questions during a routine School Site Council meeting at Fruitvale Junior High School, regarding an alleged sexual assault on a school bus on Oct. 22. On Tuesday, Attorney Daniel Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against two teen boys he says sexually assaulted a 13-year-old.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Attorney Daniel Rodriguez has filed a lawsuit against two teen boys he says sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl last month on a Fruitvale Junior High School bus.

The attorney said the lawsuit will allow him to subpoena a video of the alleged attack and receive the footage in a couple of weeks instead of the 60 days it likely would take with the claim he filed against Fruitvale School District last week. Rodriguez said Tuesday he's concerned the video could be lost, tampered with or destroyed, and he wants to get a copy as soon as possible.

Rodriguez is representing the family of the girl. The claim says three boys assaulted her on a bus Oct. 22 as she was being driven home after school.

According to the claim, the boys allegedly pulled back the hood of her sweatshirt, choked her, pulled out her hair and shoved her face into a boy's crotch. One of the boys allegedly took the hands of a boy sitting nearby and placed them on the girl's breasts, the claim says.

Video of the alleged incident captured on a school bus camera lasts 17 minutes, the claim says.

Rodriguez said the bus driver did nothing to stop the attack. He said not only did the district fail to protect the girl, but one of the boys allegedly involved in the incident was allowed on the girl's bus after school officials had said she wouldn't have to ride with him anymore.

Rodriguez said the girl was bullied after the assault, and her parents have been keeping her home.

"(School officials) don't seem to be taking this 13-year-old girl's well-being seriously," he said.

Fruitvale School District Superintendent Mary Westendorf has said the district does not tolerate inappropriate behavior against any student, and the prevention of such acts are a "high priority." She said the district is working closely with the student and her parents.

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