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In 2015, two Myers Park High School students went into the woods at the edge of the school campus. The female student, who was a minor, said she’d been kidnapped and sexually assaulted, while the 18-year-old male student said she had voluntarily skipped class and had sex with him. The lawsuit filed in 2018 against CMS, the city of Charlotte and the individuals who handled the female student’s assault report has gone to trial.

Former CMS students and plaintiff's father testify in Myers Park sex assault Title IX trial

MPHS building by me.jpeg
Ann Doss Helms
/
WFAE
Myers Park High School.

Testimony kicked off Tuesday in the civil trial of a former Myers Park High student suing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the city of Charlotte, alleging her Title IX rights were violated after she was sexually assaulted. Numerous witnesses were called, including the plaintiff’s father.

The trial's opening day stretched from jury selection in the morning through opening statements from all three sides and into the early hours of the evening.

Because of the age of some of those involved and the nature of the alleged event, many witnesses are using pseudonyms or their initials. The plaintiff is called Jane Doe. She's the former Myers Park High student who alleges school and law enforcement officials mishandled her reported sexual assault in 2015.


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In Doe’s lawsuit, she asserts School Resource Officer Bradley Leak failed to protect her from her alleged assailant.

Doe’s team, led by Washington, D.C.-based attorney Laura Dunn, called several former Myers Park students to the stand in the federal courthouse in uptown Charlotte, and entered the former principal's deposition into the record.

  • One was referred to as S.B. She testified that after she was sexually assaulted in the wooded area surrounding Myers Park, she attempted to file a report with the same School Resource Officer with whom Jane Doe had. S.B. testified that Leak discouraged her from pursuing charges and that she wasn’t given the option to report to the police.
  • Another student referred to as J.D., a close friend of Jane Doe’s, testified that she tried to get Doe help when it became clear during a group text that Doe was off campus with an older student referred to as Q.W. According to J.D., Doe wrote to her friends she had been kidnapped and needed help.
  • Former Myers Park principal Mark Bosco wasn’t in the courtroom, but Jane Doe’s legal team read numerous pages of his deposition into the record. Lawyers specifically focused on Bosco’s answers about who is responsible for the wooded area surrounding the school campus.

Jane Doe’s father also testified. He said that when he picked up his daughter from school after the incident, her boots and backpack were muddy. Since this incident, he said, his daughter has expressed suicidal thoughts.
Attorneys representing the city and CMS pressed the father on why the family did not want to see the findings of an investigation of the incident. The defense also asked if Jane Doe went back to Myers Park High to attend prom after she transferred to South Mecklenburg High, to which her father simply answered “yes.”

Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday, with the trial likely to last at least through the end of the week. 

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Sarah Delia covers criminal justice and the arts for WFAE. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.