Mother sues Lexington 2 after daughter had sex with Special Olympics coach on school trip

nophillips@thestate.comJanuary 10, 2013 

— The mother of a Brookland-Cayce High School special needs student has sued Lexington 2 for negligence after her daughter allegedly had sex with a teacher’s assistant on a Special Olympics trip to Charleston.

School officials on the March trip failed to follow the school district’s policy on supervising the child when a chaperone allowed her to leave a hotel room with a male teacher’s assistant, the lawsuit contends. The mother, who has not been named by The State in order to protect the child’s identity, is asking for unspecified damages. The lawsuit was filed in December in Charleston County, where the alleged assault took place.

The teacher’s assistant, Cornelius Davis, 29, was arrested in March and charged with second-degree criminal misconduct by Mount Pleasant police in the incident. He also was charged with committing a lewd act with a minor by Cayce police and criminal sexual conduct with a minor by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. The same student was the victim in all three cases.

The 15-year-old stayed in a hotel room with a female chaperone on the March 2 trip. About 10 p.m., Davis went to the hotel room and told the chaperone that he needed to take the girl to see her mother. The girl returned to the hotel room at 2:30 a.m., the lawsuit said.

The girl’s mother learned her daughter had had sex with the teacher’s assistant the next day when another Special Olympics team member told her, the lawsuit said. The girl was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina’s pediatric emergency room where the hospital staff determined she had been assaulted after performing a sexual assault exam, the lawsuit said.

The girl contracted a sexually transmitted disease because of the assault, the lawsuit contends. She also had to be hospitalized and her mother has been forced to pay for medical care and counseling.

The lawsuit also said that at least one of the girl’s teachers at Brookland-Cayce had witnessed Davis engaging in inappropriate conduct with other female special needs students. That teacher warned Davis to stop but she did not report his actions to the school administration, the suit said.

As a result, the school district failed to take the necessary precautions to keep the girl safe, the suit said.

Jim Hinton, assistant superintendent for Lexington 2, referred phone calls to Jake Moore Sr., the district’s attorney. Efforts to reach Moore were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Davis was placed on administrative leave after his arrests, but information was not made available Wednesday on his employment status with the district. Also, it is unknown whether any other teachers received disciplinary action for failing to report Davis to administrators.

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

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