WHNT News 19 still seeking settlement details in Sparkman Middle ‘rape bait’ case

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- The settlement terms in the Sparkman Middle School ‘rape bait’ case have still not been made public, though WHNT News 19 formally requested that information from the Madison County Schools on March 21.

The lawsuit was filed in 2010 after a Sparkman Middle School student was raped after school officials botched a proposed ‘sting’ to catch a sexually aggressive student in the act of bothering the victim in the case.

They were too late and the girl was raped, according to investigators. The lawsuit had been dismissed, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling and reinstated the girl's claims. The lawsuit alleged schools officials violated her right to an education by showing deliberate indifference to the sexual harassment she faced.  The court called the rape bait scheme "incomprehensible."

The school system, its insurers, Sparkman Principal Ronnie Blair, former assistant principal Jeanne Dunaway and former teacher’s aide June Simpson were all part of the settlement, which was finalized last month.

We asked Superintendent Matt Massey to provide details of the settlement by the school system and its insurer, the Alabama Trust for Boards of Education, but until Thursday, Massey had not replied.

He told WHNT News 19 that the system hadn’t completed financial records for the settlement and so no records were available to provide.

We then asked Massey how much the system paid to settle the case.

He declined to provide an amount.

“We can’t talk about that,” Massey said. “I mean that's part of the agreement.”

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But public school system payments involving taxpayer funds are subject to the state’s open records law.

A school system spokesman told WHNT News 19 tonight that he would contact the system’s attorney Friday in order get us an update on the request.

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