The Mead School District has agreed to pay $205,000 to settle a federal lawsuit on behalf of a former student with autism who was repeatedly abused nearly five years ago by two other special education students at Mead High School.
The parents of a boy, identified in court documents only as J.B., argued that the school district was negligent. The boy, now 21 and in college, has Asperger’s disorder, a mild form of autism that affects his ability to socialize and communicate.
The district acknowledged that two developmentally disabled girls manipulated, assaulted and sexually abused the boy over several months in the spring of 2006. The abuse occurred in secluded areas of the school.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office investigated, but no charges were filed.
The civil suit was settled this week in U.S. District Judge Edward F. Shea’s court.
The family’s attorney Douglas Spruance said the school district never admitted negligence.
“They never acknowledged they should have done things differently,” he said.
The school district’s attorney Michael McFarland said that despite “the best efforts and proper supervision” of school officials, “these students were able to conceal their activities such that nobody at the high school could have known what was going on.”
The monetary award will in part be used to establish a special needs trust for the victim, who is receiving psychological counseling.