GAITHERSBURG, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Montgomery County Public Schools faces another allegation of failed supervision that led to what a lawsuit says was a sexual assault inside a high school locker room.
The lawsuit, which was just filed Tuesday by Jane Doe on behalf of her son, says at least three teammates attacked and assaulted a freshman wrestler before a practice at Gaithersburg High School in 2018. The teammates called it an initiation. These disturbing allegations were first reported by Bethesda Beat.
The lawsuit says the students were not reasonably supervised and MCPS failed to provide any meaningful discipline for the perpetrators.
This is the third claim of sexual assault involving athletic programs at MCPS. In 2018, Damascus high school's football program came under the microscope for allegations that players attacked other players in a hazing incident known as "brooming."
Another lawsuit has since been filed alleging a Seneca Valley High School football player was raped by teammates that same year.
Attorney Billy Murphy is representing the victims in the Damascus case in a civil lawsuit against MCPS.
He weighed in on the latest allegations saying, "There's a horrible pattern and practice of failing to protect children at Montgomery County high schools, particularly in the athletics program. The sad thing about these kinds of incidents is that the kids don't manifest the real harm that this has caused them until they become older and these harms last throughout their adult lives."
MCPS said it had not been served with the Gaithersburg High School lawsuit.
A review of the Damascus incident found a supervision gap. FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick reports that in March 2019, Montgomery County Public Schools issued new guidelines for locker room and athletic team supervision:
- Head coaches must submit a plan for pre and post practice supervision
- Must have contingency plan for backup
- Paid coaches must supervise volunteer coaches
- Locker rooms remain locked and off limits when a coach isn't present
- Coaches or athletic directors must remain on campus until all team members have left school property
- Coaches must accompany team back to school if it's a travel match
- Student athletes must also watch an anti-bullying and hazing presentation