Original Article (Video available)
By Kent Erdahl
A Central Indiana mother is breaking her silence, after her young son was involved in a series of sexual acts inside a Muncie school.
The woman, known only as Jane Doe, is suing Ball State University, which operates the Burris Laboratory School, for mishandling those incidents. The incidents took place among 2nd grade students in late 2011.
“They’ve never, ever, told me they were sorry for not keeping my child safe, not watching my child, not making sure that he was okay,” Jane Doe said.
The woman said the school failed to protect her son from sexual acts in the bathroom and from viewing pornography in classrooms. She said officials also leaked his name to parents.
“The first thing that (parents) would say is, ‘Don’t you know that’s the child that sexually molested all the rest of the kids?’” Jane Doe said.
The boy’s mother said the accusations stemmed from an incident which the school initially downplayed.
“They told me he was involved in a game,” Jane Doe said. “He was playing an inappropriate game in the bathroom.”
It wasn’t until she heard from investigators that she learned the truth.
“The next phone call I got at work was from the Department of Child Services and the sheriff’s department telling me that it wasn’t a game, it was the boys performing oral sex on each other,” Jane Doe said. “I specifically asked them if my son was a suspect or a victim and they assured me that he was a victim in it.”
Despite that assurance, she said school officials began associating her boy’s name with the incident, and now, a year after leaving the school due to bullying, she said he remains scarred by more than the sexual acts.
“He’s always afraid that someone is going to say something and everyone is going to know again and treat him as badly as he was treated at Burris,” she said.
Attorney Thomas Blessing is now representing the family in a lawsuit against Ball State, which operates the Burris school.
“Ball State has not only denied it’s happened, but they almost seem to be engaged in a cover-up,” Blessing said. “It’s not the kind of publicity a university wants.”
“I’m still learning things that the school never shared with me,” Jane Doe said.
She said her son and the other boys allegedly learned the sexual acts after viewing pornography on iPads and computers they used during school. The lawsuit alleges that there were no filters for internet access.
“I didn’t realize they had unlimited access to internet,” Jane Doe said. “I didn’t realize that they were ever by themselves for any amount of time, let alone enough time to do that multiple times in multiple areas of the building.”
Neither the school nor Ball State will comment on the lawsuit. Jane Doe said they’ve already said too much.
“They have painted my child to be a child molester and a terrible person and he’s not,” she said. “All I wanted for him, in putting him in that school, was for him to have the best opportunity possible and they completely destroyed any chance for that.”
The boy spent the past year in a new school. His mother said he sees a counselor once a week.