A Tennessee family has filed a lawsuit against Rutherford County Schools. The family alleges their autistic eighth-grader was sexually abused by a school caretaker in September 2018.
According to the Murfreesboro Post, Rutherford County Schools hired a male teaching assistant to care for the boy. In September, a custodian and another school employee observed the caretaker inappropriately touching the autistic student on two separate occasions. The custodian and school employee notified the principal but the allegations were ignored.
The parents filed the lawsuit in January, alleging a violation of equal protection under the 14th Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit asks that Rutherford County Schools enact new policies, including proper harassment training and hiring protocols for staff working with children with intellectual disabilities. The family also requests damages for physical and emotional harm.
In addition to the sexual abuse, the lawsuit alleges a pattern of neglect which occurred during the boy’s sixth and seventh grade years. On one occasion, the boy was left unsupervised when he fell off of a therapy ball and severely injured his mouth.
The boy has since been placed in homebound instruction.
Thomas J. Henry’s firm is one of the largest plaintiffs’ firms in the country. The firm currently houses more than 135 attorneys and 350 supporting staff in eight office locations across Texas in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin, El Paso, and Houston.
We are leaders in the field of personal injury and have helped countless child abuse and child injury victims. The firm has taken on numerous cases dealing with child abuse and molestation against individuals, daycares, businesses and organizations, including several against the Catholic Church.
In 2016, Thomas J. Henry pursued a high profile case against the Archdiocese of San Antonio and now-deceased San Antonio clergy member Father Virgilio Elizondo. The lawsuit alleged Elizondo had sexually abused a young boy for years. Elizondo took his own life in March 2016 before he could be deposed.
Over the years, the firm’s founder, Thomas J. Henry, has donated to hundreds of children’s charities throughout the United States. In 2015, the Henry family partnered with ChildSafe, a San Antonio area organization that provides services to children and teenagers who have been traumatized by abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. He provided the largest donation the organization has ever received.
In 2014, Thomas J. Henry publicly backed Nico LaHood in the hotly contested race for San Antonio District Attorney. LaHood ran on the platform of keeping children safe from physical and sexual abuse. Thomas J. Henry donated more than $1 million to his campaign.