A Washington, D.C., high school principal was recorded mocking a student’s sexual assault claim made last June, according to a lawsuit and an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post.
The girl allegedly went to Aqueelha James, principal of Roosevelt High School, to report that a male student forced her into a bathroom stall, began kissing her and tried to put his hand up her dress. She escaped but said he left a hickey on her neck, which the girl cites as evidence of the incident in the recording of a meeting with school officials. The girl’s mother accidentally left her cell phone in the conference room, which captured the principal’s comments, according to the mother’s attorney.
At first, James seemed supportive. “I’m here to support and be of assistance,” James told the girl and her mother. “I don’t like the idea that your daughter has been assaulted sexually. It is a crime.”
But after the girl and her mother left the room, James said that she was “sick of her and her mom” and that she planned to try to “embarrass her ass.” James also criticized the girl for the dress she was wearing.
“This is a bunch of bullshit,” James added.
She also had this to say about the girl’s allegations:
“This . . . is going to compromise her,” James said. “And that’s why I’m going to go the extra mile and call MPD. That’s why I’m going to do all of this . . . because I’m sick of her. . . . So I’m going to call MPD, I’m going to have a long, drawn-out email just so that I can embarrass her.”
The mother is suing James and the D.C. government in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit, which is seeking at least $5 million in actual and punitive damages, claims that James and school officials did not investigate the sexual assault allegations adequately and that James defamed the child by calling her credibility into question to police officers.
Neither the child nor her mother is named by the Post and the lawsuit was filed under a pseudonym.