LIMA — A woman is suing the Bath achool system saying her 5-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted numerous times on a school bus by a troubled 17-year-old boy last school year.
The lawsuit was filed earlier this month in Allen County Common Pleas Court seeking more than $25,000 in damages in addition to $250,000 for each alleged incident of sexual assault.
The woman filed the lawsuit earlier this month against Bath Local School District and the teenage boy she only identifies Jon Roe.
Her 5-year-old daughter was a pupil at Bath schools in kindergarten during the 2012-13 school year when the sexual assault happened at least four times on a school bus between Aug. 30, 2012, and Sept. 12, 2012, according to the lawsuit.
She said Bath schools placed a troubled 17-year-old boy on the bus who had been in Bath Alternative School to catch a bus ride. He was on the bus with elementary schoolchildren, the lawsuit said.
The children were assigned seats but somehow the boy was placed in a seat with the 5-year-old girl, according to the lawsuit.
Bath schools had a duty to protect the young and failed to supervise the conduct of the teenage boy, who it said has a “diminished capacity,” the lawsuit said.
Bath Superintendent Dale Lewellen referred a call to the school system's attorney, Jennifer Stiff of Columbus.
Stiff released a written statement on behalf of the school board saying the school district maintains a high standard of safety practices consistent with other schools to keep pupils safe.
“This was an isolated incident that was immediately investigated and addressed,” the statement said.
Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish said detectives in his agency investigated the crime and filed two counts of felony gross sexual imposition. Crish was unable to determine the final outcome of the case late Monday.
Prosecutor Juergen Waldick would not comment on the particular case but said in general when juvenile cases are disposed of the cases are sealed.
The incident was captured on bus video surveillance but Bath schools failed to discover the sexual assaults until the girl's mother notified them, the lawsuit said.
The mother found out after her daughter told her, the lawsuit said.
Bath schools has an extensive file on the teenage boy and was aware he presented a possible danger to other pupils, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleges Bath schools was negligent by placing the troubled teen on the bus and knew he presented a potential danger to younger pupils. The lawsuit further alleges the girl suffered physical, emotional and psychological harm. She has anxiety, depression and embarrassment, the lawsuit said.
The school district believes no school employee was aware of any risk to the pupil or placed the pupil in danger, according to the statement from the school's attorney. Attorneys and the district said they “strongly dispute the allegations in the lawsuit and look forward to providing its response to the court.”
The girl is receiving extensive counseling, the lawsuit said.