RVHS student’s family settles sexual assault suit

COLUMBIA – A lawsuit filed by the family of a Ridgeview High School student and sexual assault victim has been settled.

According to the suit, a member of the school’s basketball team was sexually assaulted by teammates before a game in January, 2020.

Filed in January, 2022, the suit listed seven causes of action against Richland Two, including gross negligence, outrage, premise liability, negligent supervision, loss of personal services, civil rights violations, and Title IX violations.

Richland Two spokeswoman Ishmael Tate confirmed the matter was settled “several weeks ago,” but declined further comment.

The Voice could not independently confirm the settlement amount or terms and conditions.

Tyler Gaines, a Columbia attorney who represented the victim and his family, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Settlement documents had not been filed in the Richland County Public Index as of press time.

There also was no record that any insurance payouts had yet been made on the district’s behalf, according to an S.C. Comptroller General database.

According to the litigation, the victim was sexually assaulted in a locker room before a boys’ basketball game.

Some players restrained the victim while others committed various acts of sexual assault, according to the suit.

The victim fought back and cried out which captured the attention of other players not involved in the assault. They rushed to the victim’s aid, pulling the suspects off of the victim.

Before the game started, the victim told the coach about the assault. The coach replied that he would “deal with this” after the game, the suit continues.

Richland Two is liable because the district “failed to properly ensure the safety and security of minor students like Plaintiff John Doe from being sexually assaulted by his fellow teammates,” according to the suit.

“They failed to properly monitor and supervise Ridgeview High School boys’ basketball team from sexually assaulting their fellow teammates while on their premises,” the suit states.

Students participating in the sexual assault were later charged. Ridge View High’s athletic teams “have a history of violent abuse,” the suit continues.

“Law enforcement investigated the matter after Plaintiff Mother Doe’s report and their investigation revealed multiple incidents of sexual assault involving the same members of Ridgeview High School boys’ basketball team who sexually assaulted Plaintiff John Doe,” the suit says.

The settlement comes amid the district responding to unrelated litigation revolving around an April 25 stabbing incident in which a 16-year-old Ridgeview High student was stabbed inside a school hallway during class time. One male student was charged in connection with the stabbing.

On April 27, the victim’s family sued the district and the suspect’s mother, seeking past and future medical expenses, legal costs, and other damages.

Richland Two denied responsibility in a recently filed response, and said the victim started the altercation that resulted in him getting stabbed.

“Plantiffs’ minor son, John Doe, started the altercation by walking past a teacher in the hallway and within a few feet attacking a student before John Doe was stabbed,” the district’s response states.

The district’s response further states school staff administered aid within a minute of the attack, and that the school promptly called 911.

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