The victim’s lawyer said the case raises questions about how both special needs students were alone and unsupervised in the hallway at Esperanza Preparatory Academy in East Harlem.
A sexual assault reported in April of a 17-year-old special needs student at an East Harlem high school has triggered a $5 Million lawsuit against the city and Department of Education.
David Jaroslawicz, the lawyer for the victim’s family, says in court papers the teen was approached in a hallway by a male, fellow special needs student and led to a stairwell where “she was forced to perform oral sex … and was otherwise offensively and improperly touched sexually."
Court papers accuse the city of neglect and an attempted coverup — claiming a security guard at Esperanza Preparatory Academy tried to persuade the girl to “lie and say it was consensual.
However, in an interview, Jaroslawicz said the girl and her family reported the assault to police.
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Now the school is forcing the girl and two siblings to change schools.
“This is a real hardship on them," he said, noting that there are few schools around that cater to special needs students.
Jaroslawicz said the case raises questions about how both special needs students were alone and unsupervised in the hallway when the school’s policy is that no student is supposed to leave a classroom without being accompanied by an adult.
“That didn’t happen here and that’s why she was vulnerable," he said.
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A spokesman for the city Law Department said it “will review the complaint."