Family Sues School Over Boy's Rape

CLEVELAND (AP) - A boy and his mother have filed a $2 million lawsuit against the Cleveland Board of Education alleging it failed to protect him when he was repeatedly raped in a restroom.

Last spring, the kindergartner at Charles Dickens Elementary School told his grandmother that two fifth-graders -- a 10-year-old and an 11-year-old -- yanked down his pants and sodomized him.

The 5-year-old boy later told police that the boys raped him about 10 times. The police report says that when the boy tried to tell his teacher about the rapes, she replied, "No tattletales."

"To think that this sort of thing could go on in a school is unthinkable," said lawyer David Pomerantz, who represents the boy and his mother. "It is unconscionable that this happened to him, but it's equally unconscionable that a school would allow it to happen. Obviously, they should be supervising kids better in bathrooms."

Reports of the sexual attacks first surfaced on April 22, when the boy's grandmother took him to Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital and a doctor called police.

She said he had become withdrawn and was having trouble sleeping. She later recalled that he once came home with a broken belt and once with his underwear soiled and on backward.

Detectives from the Sex Crimes Unit investigated, and the older boys were charged with rape in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. They are awaiting trial.

School spokesman Dan Minnich said when the allegations were raised, the district began an internal investigation with police and the boys were removed from the school.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)