Student sues over sexual battery at a Wichita high school

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A student who was sexually battered in the bathroom of a Wichita high school is suing the principal and school board for negligence.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the suit filed in Sedgwick County District Court cites unsafe security practices at Wichita East High School, where the student was assaulted in September. The Eagle and The Associated Press don’t normally name victims of sex crimes.

Twenty-nine-year-old Guy Harris is awaiting sentencing for sexual battery after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor last month. Police have said Harris groped an 18-year-old female student after entering the school and following her into the restroom while classes were in session. Police have said that the student immediately told school staff about the incident.

According to the lawsuit, the principal and his staff routinely left the school’s front entrance door “unlocked, unsecured, and unmanned.”

The woman’s attorney, Prince Ogunmeno, said the district must be held responsible for not adequately securing the school. The woman is now 19 and is no longer a student at East High.

The lawsuit is seeking more than $75,000 for “sexual assault, humiliation, disgrace, embarrassment, mental agony, mental pain and suffering, severe emotional distress” and other damages.

District spokeswoman Wendy Johnson said in an email that the district is “committed to the safety of all Wichita Public Schools students and staff.”

A few days after the incident, the school implemented tougher security measures by locking all exterior doors during the day except for one.

Johnson said the school will not comment on the matter until the lawsuit is resolved.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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