Washington, D.C., Principal Mocks Student's Sexual Assault Claim in Audio Recording

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A school bus passes Newtown High School in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on March 14. A Washington, D.C., principal is facing a lawsuit alleging that she failed to properly investigate sexual assault allegations reported by a female student. Getty/John Moore

A Washington, D.C., principal, who was taped mocking a student's sexual assault claim, is facing a lawsuit for neglecting to sufficiently investigate the allegations.

According to The Washington Post, a lawsuit was filed against Roosevelt High School principal Aqueelha James and the Washington, D.C., government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that claimed the defendants failed to properly investigate allegations of sexual assault reported by a student.

The recording, obtained by the Post, was made by the alleged victim's mother during a meeting between James, the girl making the allegations, the girl's mother and school administrators.

Initially, James seemed to be concerned about the accusations. "I'm here to support and be of assistance," she said. "I don't like the idea that your daughter has been assaulted sexually…. It is a crime."

But after the girl and her mother abruptly left the room, James told Dean of Students Reginald Stevens that she was going to call the police so she can "embarrass" the girl. The mother's recording device was left on and recorded the exchange that occurred in their absence.

"This…is going to compromise her," James said. "And that's why I'm going to go the extra mile and call MPD [Metropolitan Police Department]. That's why I'm going to do all of this…because I'm sick of her…. So, I'm going to call MPD, I'm going to have a long, drawn-out email just so that I can embarrass her."

James added that she was wanted to "embarrass her ass" and told the school officials that they "should see the dress she's got on."

Through the lawsuit, the girl who claimed sexual assault and her mother are seeking at least $5 million in actual and punitive damages from James and the Washington, D.C., government.

In a statement, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) revealed they have launched an investigation into the lawsuit and James's handling of the sexual assault allegations after it was reported to her.

"DCPS does not tolerate sexual misconduct or harassment in our schools," the statement said. "We take the safety and security of all of our students seriously, and while we cannot discuss the specifics of personnel matters, when the issue at Roosevelt was brought to our attention we launched an investigation and took action."

The girl, who has not been named, filed a police report in June 2017, claiming a male student forced her into a bathroom the day before to kiss and grope her without consent.

Last year, an Associated Press investigation uncovered about 17,000 official reports of sexual assault by students across the U.S. between fall 2011 and spring 2015, based on state education records and federal crime data.