Parents Sue D-20 Because of Sex Assault

By: Katherine Cook
By: Katherine Cook

It's something parents hope will never happen to their child-- sexual assault. But it happened to one Colorado Springs family, when their mentally disabled daughter was abused at Rampart High School. Now her parents are suing District 20. Cindy Starr and her ex-husband James McArthur suing the district for anywhere between 3.5 and 4.5 million dollars. That's how much money they say it will cost to give their daughter Kalie the care she needs because of the abuse, for the rest of her life.
In 2004, a coach found then 18-year-old Kalie in a stairwell at Rampart High school being sexually assaulted by her "peer buddy," a 15-year-old boy assigned to care for her.
"They (supervisors) said they had a protocol in place," said Starr. "Peer buddies were supposedly interviewed and they had to have a certain grade point average."
According to D-20 records, Kalie's peer buddy had a GPA of zero and had been suspended from school more than 20 times the year before. The boy eventually spent two weeks in jail for the assault.
After the abuse, Kalie's teachers said she became difficult to work with, was afraid of men and needed one-on-one-care. Because of that, last fall the district hired a woman to work with Kalie, but Starr says trouble soon followed.
"By February 1, she was frustrated and put Kalie in a bathroom with the lights off and alone and Kalie already had problems with fear," said Starr.
It was then Starr approached the district about legal mediation. She says the district declined and referred her to their expert whiteness, who Starr says had another opinion about how Kalie's sexual abuse affected her.
"They think that it wasn't traumatic for her, that it was pleasurable...can you imagine?"
When Kalie turns 21 she'll no longer receive the one-on-one-care she needs. That's why Starr wants D-20 to cover the cost of care for Kalie's entire life.
"We feel the district should provide that because they're the ones that put her in that unsafe situation."
Kalie's mom hopes this law suit will set a new president for how disabled kids are cared for in public schools, though it may take two to three years before their case goes to trial. KKTV tried to speak with D-20 officials Friday afternoon, but they would not return our calls.


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