Lawyers settle case involving Sparkman Middle School student used as ‘bait’ in rape investigation

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – A case involving a teen who was raped by another student at Sparkman Middle School will not go trial.  WHNT News 19 has learned both sides have settled the lawsuit.

The girl and her family had sued the Madison County School system and a handful of Madison County school administrators.  The case was scheduled to go to trial in June, but was settled last week.

According to court documents, in 2010, a 14-year-old girl with special needs referred to only as “Jane Doe” was asked by Sparkman Middle School administrators to pretend to agree to have sex with a young boy after she accused him of sexually harassing her. The plan was for school leaders to catch the boy “in the act.”  However, they didn’t intervene in time, and the girl was raped, the lawsuit filed on behalf of Jane Doe claimed.

The lawsuit included the Madison County School Board, Sparkman Middle School principal Ronnie Blair, assistant principal Jeanne Dunaway, and teachers’ aide June Simpson.  Blair, Dunaway and Terrell were part of the settlement.

The law firm of Mastando and Artrip represented the victim and her family.  WHNT News 19 spoke with attorney Eric Artrip about the settlement.

“I think it took a lot of guts for her to bring this lawsuit and go forward the way she has, to have endured almost six years of litigation,” said Artrip.  “Ultimately, I think this case was settled in a way that was satisfactory for her, but more importantly, I think she feels proud of the fact that due to the attention the case gathered, changes have been made, which hopefully will make young women safer in schools.”

Artrip said he and his partners Teri Mastando and Tony Mastando and their staff have never been more proud of the work they’ve done in a case.

Artrip did not disclose the terms of the settlement.

WHNT News 19 has reported extensively on this case.  We are working to get a comment from Madison County Superintendent Matt Massey on the settlement.

The victim is now 20 years old.

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