WARNING: This story contains details that some viewers may find disturbing due to its graphic content. Reader discretion is advised.
HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- When it comes to fighting for her daughter’s safety, one Henrico mom said she would always go the extra mile.
That’s the attitude she took when she went on a quest to find justice for her nine-year-old daughter, a Varina Elementary student, who said she was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom last fall; a trauma that she said left her daughter fearful, depressed, anxious, and in counseling twice a week.
The woman, who asked CBS 6 to conceal her identity, said explicit text messages about graphic sexual acts sent to her daughter’s iPod from another nine-year-old student raised the first red flags.
“My daughter had her iPod in front of her and she cried,” the mother said.
She said her daughter told her it all started in September, when a male student followed her into a girls’ bathroom.
“She said that the first time, the little boy crawled up under the bathroom stall in the hall bathroom,” the mom said. “She said that she yelled for him to leave and he left, so she started using the other bathroom which is the auditorium bathroom. At that time, she said she tried to shut the door. His hand got stuck in the door and he pushed in and then pulled his pants down and put his thing in her mouth.”
She contacted Varina Elementary administrators and Henrico Police to file a police report. The police department told CBS 6 News they conducted a thorough investigation, but could not determine if a crime had occurred.
Varina administrators also conducted an investigation.
“I did ask about whether or not the child would be suspended and the resource officer chimed in and said that in elementary schools "we try to keep the kids in school," it really went nowhere,” the mother explained.
The mother said she was upset with the way Henrico Public Schools handled the ordeal. She said that included her daughter being questioned by the school resource officer without her knowledge or consent.
It was during that conversation, the mother said, the officer asked the girl to draw a picture of what she said happened to her.
“I never found out until afterward when she had a breakdown at home, where she drew a picture of his penis in her mouth,” the mother said. “If it wasn’t for that picture, I wouldn’t have known.”
CBS 6 News obtained a copy of a safety plan that the mother said Varina administrators put into place after meeting with her. It detailed the steps the school system took in dealing with the matter, including reviewing video surveillance footage, doing a threat assessment, and ultimately concluding that the allegation could not be proven or disproven, due to a lack of evidence and witnesses.
The mother told CBS 6 that she did not view the security video herself but said a description was given to her by a school official. She said she was told that the boy could be seen in the area near the bathroom where the girl said she was assaulted, but the footage didn’t show the boy going into the bathroom.
The safety plan also called for allowing the girl to use a bathroom in the nurse’s office, and most importantly, it mandated that both students be kept separate at all times. But she claimed a mistake was made, and one day her daughter came home, telling her that the boy showed up in one of her classes.
“They weren’t supposed to be in the same classroom,” the mother said.
That’s when she decided to take matters into her own hands.
The woman told her story to a Henrico judge, who issued a temporary protective order, which was served to the boy’s mother, stating that the children must be kept apart at all times.
Court documents obtained by CBS 6 show that the mother of the boy then sought a temporary protective order of her own. In her request, that woman claimed that the girl and her mother had harassed her son via texts, social media, and third parties.
Days later, both sides appeared in court, to plead their cases. That hearing ended with the judge ruling in favor of the girl and her mother and issuing a permanent protective order against the other family.
CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone, who is not affiliated with this case, said that was a telling ruling.
“A neutral judge issued a protective order to protect the child, so, there’s obviously some credibility placed in her statement,” Stone said.
“Like I said, many times these go in front of a judge and a judge decides who is telling the truth.”
The judge has since ordered that the two students never attend the same school. He also noted that under oath, the boy’s mother said she would withdraw her son from Varina Elementary.
“This was all I wanted… all I wanted,” said the girl’s mother.
“It’s very unfortunate that you have to go to those measures just to get the school to cooperate and do what they should have done, or what I feel like they should have done in the first place.”
Henrico County Public Schools Spokesperson Andy Jenks provided the following statement to CBS 6 News:
“There’s nothing we take more seriously than the safety of our students and staff. Our school addressed this matter immediately, to include the involvement of Henrico Police and extensive discussions with the appropriate students and staff members. We also took steps to closely monitor the situation on an ongoing basis while working directly with the two students and families involved. Due to federal laws that protect the privacy of students, we regret that we are unable to provide additional facts that might add to a more complete understanding of the situation, as well as the school division’s actions.”
The Henrico mother said she was sharing her story to encourage other victims to come forward. She also wants to encourage parents to believe their children and go the distance for them, if they believe they’ve been wronged or are in danger.
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