Lawsuit filed for Dexter counselor's rape report handling

- Most school students are returning to school soon, but one southeast Michigan district is facing a federal lawsuit.

"The damage is done - you can't completely repair it at this point," said attorney Lisa Truszkowski.
 
It's a story of trust and betrayal on many levels.
 
"There was no physical way I could get out from underneath what was happening," said the victim. 
 
Now 19, this young woman says she was raped during her spring break by a 16-year-old family friend when she was just 13 years old.

Then at the age of 15, she says she was raped again - this time by a 17-year-old, while at a party.
 
"The other one was at a party and there were people around and they were all intoxicated but they knew what was going on," she said. "There were a lot people that could have stopped the second assault but they chose not to.

"It tears me apart every day."
 
She is still reeling years later - the family blames her fragile mental health on the rapes and on her counselor at Dexter High School. The victim says she told him what happened both times - and asked him not to tell anyone. 
 
The problem is - he didn't tell anyone - not her principal - not her parents - not the police. Neither alleged crime was reported to anyone.
 
"I know what I went through - it's terrifying and it's real and it's something that I told him about and he didn't do anything about it," she said. "When it happened I had that one person that I thought was the safest place. I knew whatever I said wouldn't be repeated and when I needed it to be repeated, it wasn't." 
 
The victim's mother says she didn't know.

"It turns out I found out over four years later what had happened," her mother said. "We should have been told about these things. Why didn't anyone ever tell us as we're watching our child suffer, not knowing why."
 
"It didn't impact just her," Truszkowski said. "It impacted her entire family. Her parents were not able to help her."
 
Her parents would have filed a police report and gotten their child the proper counseling - instead they watched her suffer from anxiety and depression - wondering what was going on.
 
"It's not fair to the parents that they didn't have the opportunity to help their daughter," Truszkowski said. 
 
It is now the subject of a federal lawsuit against Dexter Community Schools and that counselor - Craig Rafail, who is still listed as a counselor on his LinkedIn account. 

The district revoked his tenure once it was finally revealed what really happened. Rafail's attorney would not comment but court filings show he claims he did nothing wrong - and was not legally obligated to report that first rape.  He claims he didn't know about the second one.

As for the district - their court filings claim they were not aware of what was happening and took action as soon as they found out. 

But that's not enough for the victim - or her family, who want to make sure this never happens to anyone else.
 
"I really want to see the school go forward as a better place and a safe place for all of the kids," the victim said.

"You've got a guy who is a counselor, he's responsible for the well-being of children," said the victim's mother. "And he needs to have accountability as does the school district for everything that's taken place."
 
"They are the front line for these kids," Truszkowski said. "They need to make sure that they are capable of instructing and helping these kids when they come to them with these issues."

"I think it's a gross injustice to any child to have to be subjected to this kind of behavior," the victim's mother said.

It should be noted that the district fired Rafail because they say he violated state law, board policy, district practice and basic common sense. The police are now investigating the rape allegations.

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