The mother of a former Pace Academy student allegedly sexually assaulted by a classmate said she thinks the Buckhead private school failed to protect her daughter.
“I'm upset by the fact that they had a duty to her, and they failed her,” the girl’s mother said in an exclusive interview with Channel 2 Action News. “They failed her miserably.”
Channel 2 did not identify the woman in order to protect her daughter’s privacy.
The classmate, a 16-year-old boy, is now facing criminal charges after police say he twice sexually assaulted the girl at the school. He was arrested Wednesday on two charges of aggravated sexual battery.
While police have not identified him because of his age, Channel 2 described him as a star varsity football player.
The girl’s mother said the boy took her daughter’s innocence when he approached her after lunch one day in early October and forced himself on her. According to a police report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the boy grabbed her by the wrist outside of the school’s Fine Arts Center to lead her to seclusion down by the auditorium.
He pulled her tight against him, police said in the report.
“The victim stated that the suspect then took her hand, tucked it inside of his pants ...,” police said.
Later that month, the boy approached her again and tried to grab her wrist, police said, but she was able to pull away. She screamed for help from a passing student, who did nothing, the alleged victim told police.
“She felt betrayed because these were the people she thought truly loved and cared about her well-being,” the girl’s mother told Channel 2. “She’s been there since she was 8 years old.”
The girl said she was reluctant to tell anyone until she told school officials in November, according to police.
Her mother has since withdrawn the girl from the school after she said Pace Academy refused to suspend the boy and questioned her daughter’s account. The school didn’t feel like it was responsible, her attorney, Sho Watson, told the news station.
A school spokeswoman said in a statement that the 16-year-old boy is no longer a student there.
“Pace Academy is cooperating with the Atlanta Police Department as they investigate,” Pace spokeswoman Lisa O’Haire told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The girl’s mother said it doesn’t give her any peace about what happened. She said she’s most upset that her daughter doesn’t have a voice.
“At this point, it doesn’t matter that he’s been removed,” she said. “He wasn’t removed when he needed to be removed, and that was when she was a student there.”
Watson told Channel 2 they are considering legal options against the school.