Capital High student sues over alleged sexual assault

By Chris Dickerson and Kyla Asbury | May 18, 2015

CHARLESTON – A Capital High School student is suing the Kanawha County Board of Education and the high school's principal after she claims she was sexually assaulted at the school.

On Jan. 26, S.P., a minor, was sexually assaulted by a male student under a stairwell in a school hallway during school hours, according to a complaint filed May 13 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

S.P. claims she reported the incident to the school guidance counselor that afternoon and the guidance counselor did not report the incident to the police, but did inform the school's principal, Clinton Giles.

Giles did not report the incident that day and instructed the guidance counselor not to report it to law authorities either until they reviewed surveillance footage the following day.

S.P. claims during the time frame of the sexual assault, there was a Charleston police officer, Robert Brown, who serve on the campus as a prevention resource officer and before he left school that day, he reported to Giles to see if he needed anything. Giles did not notify Brown of the sexual assault.

The following day, Giles and other school officials reviewed the video surveillance footage and Giles told two assistant principals not to speak with Brown about the assault allegations until he had contacted Kanawha County Board of Education for instructions, according to the suit.

S.P. claims Giles called and left a voicemail for her mother and M.P. went to the school, where she was told, for the first time, that her daughter had been raped the day before.

M.P. then took S.P. to the hospital for an examination and, according to county prosecutors, the delay in reporting the assault jeopardized the evidence available for prosecuting the male student who assaulted S.P.

Giles was initially charged with a misdemeanor crime of failing to immediately report a sexual assault, but the charge was later dismissed, according to the suit. Giles then resigned his employment on Feb. 3, shortly after being suspended from his position.

S.P. claims the defendants had knowledge that the male student had previously sexually assaulted another female student at the school and that he was a direct threat to female students at the school.

The male student was not suspended, expelled or disciplined in any way and the defendants did not have adequate policies and procedures in place at the high school to protect the safety of its students against assaults, according to the suit.

S.P. claims the defendants failed to make its school safe for students and Gules failed in his duties to maintain the safety of his students by maintaining control and providing adequate supervision of students at his school.

Giles was trying to "protect and shield" the suspect, 17-year-old Dallas King, by delaying the report to police, according to the suit.

King pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual abuse in March, but later asked a judge to withdraw his plea.

The defendants were negligent and violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

S.P. is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Kristina Thomas Whiteaker and David L. Grubb of the Grubb Law Firm.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

A similar incident occurred at Sissonville High School on October and that victim also filed a lawsuit against the Kanawha County Board of Education last month.

The plaintiffs in that suit claimed their daughter, who attends special education classes, was sexually assaulted in the girl's locker room during school hours.

The daughter reported the sexual assault to the administrator at the school but he did not report the incident to law enforcement and did not contact her parents.

The school board has denied that the student reported the sexual assault to school administrators.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-901

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