Questions remain after Warren school bus abuse case

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A Warren mom says her special needs daughter was sexually assaulted on the school bus and the adults on board did nothing to stop it.

Although the case was settled, questions remain.

The attorney for a special-needs girl attending Warren Consolidated Schools says the district, which recently settled a lawsuit, failed to protect the girl from months of sexual abuse from another special-needs student.

"My client had acted out for a number of months and nobody ever asked the question why," said attorney Bill Seikaly.

In the lawsuit filed back in 2013, says the girl then 11 years old, had been lured into the back of her school bus by a 12-year-old boy. The suit alleges the boy then forced the girl to fondle him and perform oral sex and even took photos of her private areas.

"The boy in fact for a long time since the age of 5, had acted out sexually," Seikaly said. "It should have been no surprise."

Seikaly said the school bus driver and an aide  on the bus of only 10 students, failed to report what was going on. The suit alleged the aide wasn't paying attention to the kids at all.

"She typically slept," Seikaly said.

Seikaly says the girl didn't discuss the abuse until months later, to a therapist. Her mother then reported it.

But this, after months of her acting inappropriately in class, Seikaly says, showed obvious signs something was wrong.

"During the formal investigation no wrongdoing was found on the part of any employees involved in the matter," said Supt. Robert Livernois. "And our insurance carrier chose to settle."

Seikaly says this is not an isolated incident. He's represented 15 children in the Warren Consolidated Schools along with many other districts across the state.

"There are adults in the institution teachers, paraprofessionals who has a concern about what's going on and doesn't act on it," Seikaly said.

Livernois says the bus driver and the aide no longer work at the school, but were never fired.

Seikaly says as statistics show 25 percent of girls and 16 percent of boys under the age of 18 are sexually assaulted, he believes those who don't report it are deeply contributing to what he calls an epidemic.

"Until we decide there's going to be real consequences, when people don't report misconduct or suspected misconduct, then you can expect that this will continue."