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Former Myers Park High student appealing the verdict in lost Title IX sexual assault-related case

A courthouse with columns
Sarah Delia
/
WFAE
Charlotte's federal courthouse

In January, a former Myers Park High School student who claimed she was kidnapped and taken off campus, where she was assaulted, lost her civil case against the city of Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Now, she’s appealing the verdict.

In a lawsuit filed in 2018, the former student alleged her Title IX rights were violated when CMS and the city of Charlotte did not protect her after a 2015 sexual assault.

The January trial lasted four days and featured hours of emotional, often graphic testimony from the student, referred to as Jane Doe in court documents, her parents and other students, as well as depositions and testimony from Myers Park High administrators including former MPHS assistant principal Anthony Perkins.

During the trial, Federal Judge Robert Conrad dismissed claims against the city of Charlotte, which employed the school resource officer whose response was at the center of the case. But CMS remained a defendant.

Ultimately the jury found Doe was sexually harassed and that it was severe and pervasive. But the jury did not decide that the school system acted with "deliberate indifference" in their handling of the case — a requirement for finding CMS liable.

In an email to WFAE one of Doe’s attorney Laura Dunn said:

"Jane Doe, with support from her family, has been fighting for justice ever since a fellow student abducted her from Myers Park High School (MPHS) and orally raped her nearby in the bamboo forest on November 3, 2015. Unlike the defendants, the jury believed Jane Doe's account of what happened. We will not rest until the City, CMS, and their officials take accountability for their failures that day and more generally toward minors sexually abused in the woods surrounding MPHS."

The notice of appeal filed Thursday lists Conrad’s dismissal of some claims, instructions to the jury and the verdict as elements Doe’s legal team seeks to appeal.

CMS declined to comment. The city of Charlotte did not get back to WFAE before our deadline.


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Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. 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.