Settlement deal reached in Alabama 'rape bait' case

AP News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2016 12:21 PM

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Both sides have reached a settlement in an Alabama lawsuit involving a teenager who says she was raped after a school worker tried to use her as bait to catch an alleged sexual predator, court records show.

The agreement means claims against Madison County school officials will be dismissed in exchange for money, Eric Artrip, an attorney for the girl's guardian, said in a statement to Al.com (bit.ly/1UdsZxV). The amount isn't being released due to a confidentiality agreement, he said.

The federal case, which stemmed from a 2010 attack inside a bathroom at Sparkman Middle School near Huntsville, has now been dismissed, according to a March 7 order by U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Michael Putnam.

A teacher's aide had asked the then-14-year-old girl to go into a bathroom at Sparkman Middle so a 16-year-old eighth-grader with a history of sexual harassment could be caught trying to have sex with her and disciplined, the girl's lawyers have said.

The girl was fearful, but the educator advised her to set up a meeting with the eighth-grader in the bathroom, telling her to "just get him to meet you and we'll catch him," the complaint states.

The teacher's aide then monitored security cameras in an assistant principal's office, but didn't see either student on the cameras so she returned to her classroom instead of trying to "catch" the eighth-grader. With no one to help her, the girl was left in the bathroom alone with the eighth-grader and was raped, according to the complaint.

Lawyers for the girl did not ask for a specific amount of money, but said that since the rape she has "persisted in an almost non-communicative state."

"She has been under the consistent care of both a psychologist and a psychiatrist," they wrote in the complaint. "Her emotional debilitation is likely permanent."