A school principal yelled at a mom for reporting her daughter’s alleged rape

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A school principal yelled at a mom for reporting her daughter’s alleged rape

‘You didn’t have to tell me that’

A 19-year-old women, anonymously referred to as Jane Roe by court documents, is suing Newburyport High School   Massachusetts along with a number of its administrators for allegedly failing to protect her against two classmates she says sexually assaulted her when she was a sophomore.

The day after the alleged assault in 2013, while meeting with the guidance counselor, school principal and associate principal, Roe’s mother explained what her daughter told her: that she was assaulted by two students during a sleepover at a friend’s house.

According to court documents, Roe’s mother said associate principal Mike Testa replied with,“You didn’t have to tell us that, you know!” after throwing up his hands and turning around in frustration.

The assault described by Roe took place at a friend’s house where she was sleeping over. According to Row, two male students assaulted her after offering her marijuana.

“A short time after John Doe 1 finished sexually assaulting Roe, John Doe 2 entered the room, and began sexually assaulting her as well,” the document reads.

Roe says she told them it was her first time smoking, but they insisted she smoke more so she could “feel it.” She claims she was incapacitated by it.

The next day, Roe says she attempted to meet with Wanda Visnick, the school nurse, who allegedly turned her away, saying “Everyone is busy.” She says she then went to Mike Nesson, a guidance counselor, who she says told her to “Come back tomorrow.”

At no time were Roe or her parents informed about their rights under Title IX.

On November 20, 2013, when Roe’s mother called Testa to inform him that a report had been filed, court documents say Testa asked why the school would need to know that information. Roe’s mother says she explained her daughter was scared to come to school and would be be seeking an order of protection, to which Testa allegedly “became agitated” and said, “I’m telling you the school can’t enforce it,” suggesting she work in a room alone instead.

“Newburyport Public School is unwavering in its commitment to maintaining a safe and supportive environment for all students,” the school’s superintendent said in a statement this week. “To allege otherwise is wrong and does not accurately reflect the Newburyport school community.”

We’ve reached out to Newburyport High School and associate principal Mike Testa for comment and will keep the piece updated. 

@carolinephinney

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