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Girl, 9, sues over alleged sexual assaults



Published: Fri, July 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



CANTON (AP) -- A 9-year-old girl has sued a suburban school district and a teenage boy over repeated rapes allegedly suffered by the mentally disabled youngster in the back of a school van.

The suit was filed June 24 in Stark County Common Pleas Court on behalf of the girl, identified only as "Jane Doe, minor," and her mother, identified only as "Jane Doe." It names the Jackson Local school district, an unspecified "John Doe" van driver and Justin Abney, 17, who is serving a term in juvenile detention for gross sexual imposition.

Abney pleaded "true," the juvenile court equivalent of guilty, and was sentenced in March to a term ranging from six months or until his 21st birthday, assistant Stark County Prosecutor Toni Schnellinger said Friday.

The plea covered the same allegations outlined in the civil action, Schnellinger said.

The lawsuit said that beginning in 2002 the girl, who rode a seven-seat district minivan to school, was directed to sit in the back with high school students and was sexually assaulted and raped in the driver's presence over a 1 1/2-year period.

The driver either knew about the alleged attacks or should have known, the lawsuit said.

The mother learned about the alleged assaults Nov. 19, according to the lawsuit, which seeks more than $500,000 in damages.

None of the defendants could be reached to comment Friday.




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