BRENTWOOD (KRON) — A victim of a sexting ring at a Brentwood middle school wins a $2 million settlement from the school district.
The girl’s lawyers filed the suit claiming school administrators ignored the warnings about the main perpetrator who is now behind bars.
On Tuesday, KRON4 talked exclusively with the mother of the victim after the settlement was approved by a federal judge.
“It was horrible what happened to her,” the victim’s mother Natalie Burke said. “She was a baby. This started when these kids were 12 and 13 years old.”
It was a crime that shocked the parents at Adams Middle School in Brentwood when it was first reported back in 2014.
At the time, investigators say at least 20 kids used cell phones to exchange partially nude photos of their female classmates, but it didn’t stop there.
“They were then threatened and blackmailed with the posting of those photographs on the internet to perform some sex acts,” attorney Peter Alfert said.
These sex acts happening in the school’s campus bathroom. One teen was charged with multiple counts of forcible sex acts on a minor, eventually pleaded guilty to acts involving two students and was sentenced to 12 years in a youth correctional facility.
Once released, he’ll be required to register as a sex offender for life.
That perpetrator’s name was redacted in emails obtained by the plaintiff’s lawyers, dated from before news of the sexting ring came to light. They show other incidents of bullying, and one from the district psychologist stating that the student’s past records indicate a tremendous amount of impulse control and anger issues that he considered “most likely of a clinical nature.”
“And rather than give him any services in middle school, they ignore those problems and the student’s behavior escalated,” Alfert said.
The plaintiff’s lawyers also say that administrators violate district policy requiring them to report all instances of sexual harassment and bullying, something the victim’s mother hopes changes because of this $2 million settlement.
“A settlement of this size hopefully will bring awareness and people need to realize this isn’t just elite Hollywood,” she said. “This isn’t (just) college campuses. This isn’t just high school. This is happening in elementary and junior high school.”
Outside the courtroom, a lawyer representing the district had no comment on the settlement.
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