Parents sue KHSD claiming their autistic daughter was raped at school

Parents sue KHSD claiming their autistic daughter was raped at school

Parents of an autistic child claim their daughter suffered emotional damage after being raped at school but the lawyer for the school district says he has experts that can say that's not the case.
Parents of an autistic teenager are suing the Kern High School District. They claim their daughter was raped at school, and the administration tried to cover it up. Those parents claim their daughter suffered permanent emotional damage after what happened to her. But, the lawyer for the school district says he has experts that can say that's not the case.

"She'd light up a room. She'd walk into a room, and you'd know she was there," said Orlando Ybarra of his autistic daughter before, he says, she was raped. He and his wife claim after the alleged attack, that light went out.

They claim it happened at Independence High School three years ago.

"My daughter was screaming. She was screaming and when they responded, they found the boy behind my daughter sexually assaulting her," said Orlando Ybarra.

Their daughter was 16 at the time, but had the mental ability of a 4-year-old and was unable to communicate. They say she was not to be left unsupervised at school. But, on October 15, 2009, around 11:00 a.m., teachers heard screams coming from the coed bathroom and found her and a 15-year-old autistic boy together.

"They kept her there in the room with the same boy, with males," said Judy Ybarra. "They put her on the bus, sent her to the after-school program and all of this time, without calling us or her being scared and her being crying."

The Ybarras say the school denied their daughter medical attention and didn't contact them until after 4:00 that afternoon to tell them what had happened.

"They took away from me my right to comfort my daughter when something as drastic like that and scary happened," said Judy.

Ralph Wegis is representing the Ybarras.

"For five hours, every minute is a failure to report so that that child can get the benefit of protection," said Wegis.

The Ybarras took their daughter to the hospital the night of the alleged attack and called police. They say because of age and no one to confirm what happened, officers said there was no crime. Police would not release records of the case to 17 News due to the nature. But, Wegis says emotional outbreaks, distress, and seclusion have continued with Ybarras' daughter since the incident. They have that and other evidence.

"They actually have possible samples taken of what appeared to be semen from her vaginal and anal area," said Wegis.

Attorney Leonard Herr is representing the Kern High School District.

"There is no evidence from any source that a rape occurred, so nobody knows what happened in the restroom," said Herr.

Herr says he has an expert that will say what happened had no negative effect on the Ybarras' daughter.

"He's come up with results that indicate that fortunately little-to-no damage has occurred," said Herr.

"If anything positive can come out of what they allowed to happen, maybe we could save other kids and not just the girls, but boys," said Judy Ybarra.

"My question is how do we get her innocence back," asked Orlando Ybarra. "She's in her own little world, and I'm just trying to get her help so she can get through this."

As for the boy in the case, he was removed from the school after the incident. The Ybarras say they've found out he was accused of similar sex acts with other girls twice before.

Both parties will meet again November 9th. If the case can't be settled, trial is scheduled to begin November 26th.
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