City sued over sexual molestation of special-needs student at Roxbury elementary school

The mother of a young boy whom a teacher's aide molested at the Martin Luther King School charges the school's principal knew about the allegations but refused to do anything about them - and even kept the aide in the same classroom with her son - until police began investigating the aide over similar allegations at another school.

The aide, LaShawn Hill, pleaded guilty in connection with both cases in December, 2012 and was sentenced to one to three years behind bars for indecent assault and battery on a child, lewd and lascivious conduct and lascivious acts with a child.

The mother filed her suit against both the city and Principal Jessica Bolt in Suffolk Superior Court earlier this month, charging they caused her son and her untold grief and problems by refusing to do anything about the molestation. This week, the city had the case transferred to US District Court in Boston.

In the lawsuit, the mother, identified as "Mary Doe," says she met with King Principal Jessica Bolt in March, 2011, the day after her son, then 7, told another son that Hill would inappropriately touch him whenever Hill escorted him to the boy's room.

The suit alleges that Bolt insisted on having Hill in the meeting, that she defended Hill by saying he "did not seem like the type" to molest children and that it was too late in the semester to transfer either Hill or her son to another classroom. She did, however, agree to have Hill stop escorting the boy on bathroom breaks.

The complaint continues that Doe then got a phone call several months later from then Superintendent Carol Johnson to let her know police had begun investigating Hill for another incident at the Harbor Pilot School in Dorchester and that she had suspended Bolt without pay for failing to follow department rules for dealing with reports of sexual abuse.

Doe says she transferred her son to another school but that he continues to undergo counseling to deal with the trauma of the molestation and that he has suffered "severe and permanent emotional and physical injuries."

The suit seeks payment for the costs of past and future treatment as well as damages for what it says was the city's failure to do anything about either Hill or Bolt.

A BPS spokesman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

Doe complaint (6.5M PDF file).



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This is where I have a

This is where I have a question. If BPS did that to my kid: a) that kid simply would not go back to that classroom environment b) I would call BPD that afternoon and c) I would have had a lawyer on the case THE VERY NEXT DAY if changes were not immediately made.

So, I guess my question is: why did it take three years for the mother to file a case? Was she waiting for other legal matters to be resolved? Does one need to wait a certain time before filing a lawsuit? Earnest questions, because I really don't know.

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I can think of a few possible reasons off the top of my head

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Many people just assume authority figures are always right - she might have been taught (either through cultural conditioning or a life of hard-knocks) not to question the powers-that-be. Or it might have taken that long for her to scrape together the funds to get legal counsel. Or the city might have been stringing her along, telling her they would come to an arrangement, and she finally got fed up and filed suit.

She and her son might have just wanted to put the whole episode behind them, or deal with it themselves, but she eventually realized that he needed resources that they just weren't getting through regular channels. Remember that both her son and the other boy that this guy was convicted of assaulting were profoundly developmentally disabled. I'm guessing that taking care of her son is a full-time job all by itself.

If anything, the fact that she didn't immediately go after the city for a big payout makes me think that her case is likely in earnest.

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