CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A federal lawsuit filed last week alleges that several student athletes abducted a 13-year-old girl last year and raped her in a back room of the now-defunct Mount Hope High School.
The girl, identified in the lawsuit only by her initials, is suing the former school, the Fayette County school board, the state Department of Education and other school officials for not providing enough supervision on school grounds and not taking measures that would have prevented the rape.
Authorities were unable to file criminal charges after conflicting statements and a lack of DNA evidence undermined the girl's credibility, Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew England told the Gazette.
On Nov. 12, 2010, the girl's cheerleading coach, Linda Nevi, asked her to stay after school to collect the team's uniforms, the lawsuit states, which caused her to miss her bus.
The girl, who did not have a cellphone, went to the school's main office and asked the employees there to let her use a phone. They refused, the suit states.
She then went to the gym and borrowed a phone, called her family, and told them that she would catch a ride home with a friend after he was finished with basketball practice.
The school's basketball coach, Bo Morrison, told her that she could not stay in the gym. She went back inside the building and found that the main office was locked and that the staff had left for the day.
Several student athletes, all 16 or 17 years old, then confronted the girl and forced her into a room "commonly used by students at Mount Hope to engage in sexual acts," the suit states.
"In this room," the lawsuit states, "the student athletes raped and physically and sexually assaulted [the girl] while another female was present."
Morrison and Nevi, along with Mount Hope's former principals, Mike and Leah Hutchins, are also named in the lawsuit.
England said authorities investigated the incident but lacked enough evidence to file charges against the five students allegedly involved.
The girl, he said, also gave conflicting statements to police and prosecutors that undermined her credibility, having at one point recanted that she was vaginally raped, he said.