A Washington, D.C. principal is facing a lawsuit after a parent recorded the principal mocking her daughter's sexual assault report, according to The Washington Post.
Roosevelt High School principal Aqueelha James is heard on the damning recording expressing her desire to embarrass the student over the incident, which she called "a bunch of bulls***."
"I'm sick and tired of her and her mom," James said, when the accuser and her mother had stepped out of the room. "So I'm going to call MPD and I'm going to have a long, drawn out email just so that I can embarrass her ass."
The conversation was recorded in June of 2017, the day the student reported the alleged sexual assault to the school. The student said the assault had occurred the previous day.
What's the story?
A Roosevelt student, who is not named in the report in The Washington Post, was allegedly pulled into a school bathroom by a male student who groped and forcibly kissed her.
When they reported it to James, the principal appeared seriously concerned and willing to help -- but it turns out to have just been a front for her true feelings, revealed when she didn't know she was being recorded.
During the meeting in which the student detailed the incident to the principal and some other school officials, she became upset and abruptly left the room. The mother, who had been recording the conversation on her cellphone, followed her daughter out -- but left the cellphone, still recording.
At that point, James made the disparaging comments, including comments about the way the student was dressed, possibly hinting that her attire had something to do with allegedly being assaulted.
What has the school said?
The lawsuit targets James as well as the Washington, D.C. government, accusing them of violating Title IX by not adequately investigating an allegation of sexual assault.
“This mother tried to go through a lot of different avenues to get this addressed before seeking counsel,” the student's attorney Kasie Murray said. “The last thing this family wanted to do was bring publicity to themselves.”
The school released a statement.
“DCPS does not tolerate sexual misconduct or harassment in our schools. We take the safety and security of all of our students seriously, and while we cannot discuss the specifics of personnel matters, when the issue at Roosevelt was brought to our attention we launched an investigation and took action,” the statement said.
The school district does not dispute the authenticity of the recording, and confirmed that James was still employed with the district.
The lawsuit is seeking $5 million in damages.