Lawsuit claims preschooler sexually assaulted another preschooler

Lawsuit claims preschooler sexually assaulted another preschooler

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Parents of a 4-year-old girl have filed a lawsuit against a daycare they say allowed a classmate to touch her inappropriately. According to the lawsuit, the parents say this ordeal has caused emotional distress to their young child. Their attorney says this was more than just juvenile curiosity.

The lawsuit filed this month alleges gross negligence among other things on the part of Covenant Classical School Valleydale. In it, the parents of a 4-year-old girl claim a classmate of hers sexually assaulted her by touching her inappropriately during naptime, and that the teacher was not paying enough attention to prevent it.

"If your child is involved in that kind of situation where there's been some kind of inappropriate touching, that, not only is that going to affect the emotional well-being of the child, but it's also going to affect the emotional well-being of the parents," says family attorney Shane Sears.

According to the parents' attorney, they were made aware of surveillance video and watched the incident, asked the daycare to remove the boy from the class and fire the teacher.

Court documents indicate the parents' wishes were not followed so they called the Department of Human Resources. A DHR investigation found Covenant Valleydale guilty of abuse and neglect, stating the incident lasted for 30-45 minutes before the teacher took action.

"The teacher that was in the room with this child obviously did not have appropriate training, she didn't use good common sense and that's what led to the injuries that were sustained by my client," says Sears.

The teacher in question filed an appeal, arguing what happened did not fall under the court's definition of "sexual abuse", especially given the children's age. She also states that not all the touching during that interval was inappropriate.

A statement from Covenant Classical School reads:

We would like nothing more than to fully address this situation publicly, but cannot do so because it is an ongoing legal matter. More importantly, we must maintain the privacy of the two children who were students at one of our schools. While we would prefer to say more, we can only say that we dispute the allegations as stated, which mischaracterize and exaggerate this isolated occurrence between two preschool students. We also disagree with the administrative findings and have challenged them in the administrative process. From the moment of this occurrence, the school has taken prompt and appropriate actions to address the situation beginning with immediately involving and fully informing the parents of the two children.

Sears says it could be another year and a half before the case goes to trial.

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