The lawsuit claims Brentwood Academy officials knew about the alleged rape and did nothing. (WSMV)
BRENTWOOD, TN (WSMV) -
A former Brentwood Academy parent has turned over what she believe is new and important evidence in a student rape case.
The private Christian school is being accused of a big cover-up.
A lawsuit claims a 12-year-old boy was being raped by older boys at the school. It also claims school officials knew about it and did nothing. It happened in 2015.
The mother of the alleged victim said she went to counselors, teachers and the headmaster, but they all downplayed the incidents.
The victim told his mother genitals were put in his mouth and behind. The lawsuit also says one of the older boys bragged about penetrating him with a sports drink bottle.
According to the lawsuit, when the victim's mother reported it to Headmaster Curt Masters, he said the boy should “turn the other cheek and "everything in God's Kingdom happens for a reason.”
“It's deceitful, it's underhanded, it's manipulative, it's hypocrisy. I don't know how this school has stayed open as long as it has,” said Michelle Nowell, a former Brentwood Academy parent.
Nowell said she heard about the allegations when they first surfaced two years ago. She said her son was also being bullied by one of the suspects around the time of the reported rape.
She provided News 4 screenshots of a social media exchange between the two.
She says her son tweeted him, "Maybe you should stop raping little kids in the locker room."
The students responded, "I didn't even touch the kid. All I did was laugh."
Nowell said her son was suspended for the tweet, proving the school was aware of rape allegations.
The first line in this letter Masters sent Thursday says otherwise.
In regard to published reports about the pending allegations against Brentwood Academy:
At no point before or during the investigation in 2015 did I (or anyone on our staff to my knowledge) hear any allegation of rape. When we heard of inappropriate activity, we responded immediately and thoroughly, cooperated fully with the authorities, and took appropriate disciplinary action based on what we knew. Certain allegations in the lawsuit and highlighted in the media are not factual, will be disputed, and our defense will be vigorous. Certain statements attributed to me are simply not true. Because of our policy of not discussing details of a lawsuit, I cannot elaborate on additional details.
I also want to emphasize that the information reported in the media has been obtained from the lawsuit itself that was filed in the county clerk’s office. The document does not, however, include Brentwood Academy’s response to each allegation. We will have the opportunity to address each individual accusation in our formal legal reply which will be filed in the near future.
We take any allegations involving our students’ safety very seriously. In review, you can be certain of these facts:
That we responded immediately and cooperated fully with investigations by the authorities once we became aware of concerns in 2015
That in 2015 and now, we do not tolerate harassment, bullying and any assault by one student against another
Our faculty and staff are trained about mandatory reporting, and comply with the law
When we are made aware of a matter that needs to be reported, we do so without delay
If we hear of inappropriate behavior, we actively investigate, intervene and if necessary, discipline our students, and this includes expulsion
We work actively to create a culture of respect among our students in a variety of ways
We will respect the confidentiality and privacy of our current and former students.
While Masters said he did take disciplinary action and report inappropriate behavior to authorities, the lawsuit says otherwise.
The lawsuit says the alleged victim and his mother told a a counselor with Daystar Counseling about the incident, but that counselor said, "reporting may not be the best thing to do. This isn't how Christian institutions handle these things."
The lawsuit says that counselor also told the boy and his mother that he had many clients from Brentwood Academy and he did not want to "burn any bridges."
In addition to Brentwood Academy and Brentwood Academy INC, five people are name in the lawsuit:
Curtis Masters: Headmaster of Brentwood Academy
Nancy Brasher: Director of the middle school and board member of Daystar Counseling
Lyle Husband: Assistant basketball coach
Mike Vazquez: Sixth grade basketball coach
Buddy Alexander: Middle school athletic director
Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Saturday, October 21 2017 12:23 AM EDT2017-10-21 04:23:00 GMT
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