DELBARTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is seeking a civil rights injunction against teachers and administrators at Burch Middle School in Mingo County for allegedly covering up repeated acts of sexual assault and abuse.
Morrisey alleges school policy was not followed and the state’s Human Rights Act violated when the acts weren’t reported by school personnel.
The court filing alleges two boys at the school were assaulting multiple girls repeatedly. Morrisey said when the girls tried to report what was happening school personnel turned against them.
“The female victims were threatened with discipline and retaliated against by members of the Burch Middle School administration,” the attorney general told MetroNews.
The court action names Burch Middle School Principal Melissa Webb, vice principal Deanna Maynard, guidance counselor Hester Keatley, teacher and coach Melvin Cunningham, Mingo County School Superintendent Randy Keathley, the Mingo County School Board, the two boys and their parents as defendants.
Morrisey said the girls have a right to go to school without fear and they will be seeking a ruling from Mingo County Circuit Court.
“To restore the ability of the children to attend the public school and receive a public education without the fear of sexual abuse and harassment,” Morrisey said.
The request for injunction outlines allegations that school personnel knew acts of sexual assault and abuse were happening but chose to cover them up.
“The defendants intentionally disregarded and violated school policies which were intended to protect the female juvenile victims,” Morrisey said. “We also allege in the complaint that the defendants allowed and concealed sexual violence and sexual harassment at the school in violation of their policy and the Human Rights Act.”
Morrisey said the assaults should have been reported to police. He said his office contacted State Police which are conducting a criminal investigation. No criminal charges have been filed. Morrisey is also working with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission.
Burch Middle School is located in Delbarton.