Former Pelican Rapids student sues high school
A former Pelican Rapids (Minn.) High School student has sued the school, claiming it failed to protect her from being sexually harassed. Alishia Anderson, 18, of Grand Forks, N.D., filed suit in federal court in Minneapolis seeking more than $75,000.
A former Pelican Rapids (Minn.) High School student has sued the school, claiming it failed to protect her from being sexually harassed.
Alishia Anderson, 18, of Grand Forks, N.D., filed suit in federal court in Minneapolis seeking more than $75,000.
Anderson's lawsuit claims she was sexually assaulted and discriminated against in school in 1999 and 2000, and that school personnel didn't try to curb the harassment.
"My client suffered severe emotional harm as a result of this," said Sonja Peterson, a Twin Cities attorney who represents Anderson.
"She's still feeling the pain from this incident, and it's going to follow her the rest of her life," Peterson said.
The 10-page lawsuit against the Pelican Rapids School District claims Anderson was sexually assaulted by two teen-age boys Dec. 4, 1999.
According to the suit, the boys inappropriately touched Anderson above and below the waist several times.
The boys pled guilty to disorderly conduct in spring 2000 and were placed on probation, the lawsuit said.
Anderson's suit alleges she was harassed by students, parents and teachers for four months after the incident.
The environment at the school became so intolerable, Anderson was forced to withdraw from classes April 4, 2000, the lawsuit claims.
Pelican Rapids Superintendent Keith Klein acknowledged Monday the district had been served with the suit.
"But at this point, we have not had an opportunity to fully investigate the specific allegations contained in the complaint," he said.
The school district's attorney will file a response to the suit by Nov. 14, Klein said.
A Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigation concluded in July the school likely had violated the state's human rights act.
The department found "probable cause" the district failed to respond appropriately to a harassment claim from Anderson.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Cole Short at (701) 241-5557