WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. – A $15 million lawsuit against a private Christian school in Williamson County, Tennessee alleges the school told a 12-year-old rape victim to “turn the other cheek” and that “everything in God’s kingdom happens for a reason.”
The victim was a 12-year-old, sixth grade student at Brentwood Academy during the 2014-15 school year.
Court documents outline multiple events of sexual abuse and rape that allegedly occurred in the school locker room after gym class.
In those alleged events, the 12-year-old victim was repeatedly sexually harassed, abused and raped by four 14 and 15-year-old students.
The victim’s mother eventually heard about the abuse and reached out to a counselor, Chris Roberts of Christian counseling ministry Daystar Counseling. However, Roberts never reported the abuse to Tennessee authorities, as required by Tennessee law.
When the mother asked why it wasn’t being reported, Roberts reportedly told her “reporting this may not be the best thing to do” and that “this isn’t how Christian institutions handle those things.”
The mother then chose to report the abuse to Department of Children’s Services herself.
Roberts also chose to tell the school that the mother was filing a report with DCS, reportedly telling the mother that he “did not want to burn and bridges” because of his connection to the school.
The headmaster of the school, Curtis H. Masters, along with the school’s director, Nancy Brasher, contacted the mother multiple times after hearing of the report, at times downplaying the severity of the abuse, asking if the school could handle the incidents, and even questioning whether the incidents happened at all.
Both of the victim’s parents met with the Masters and Brasher at one point, where the Masters admitted to incidents of bullying or harassment at the school but that he considered the situations to be “boys being boys” and that he “could not investigate each of those and run a school.”
At one point, the Masters spoke with the victim and told him he “needs to turn the other cheek,” that “one of the students would be disciplined with in school suspension,” and that “everything in God’s kingdom happens for a reason.” Masters also offered for the victim to change for gym class in his office while they consider putting cameras in the locker rooms.
Several other people are listed as defendants in the lawsuit, including administrator and middle school athletic director Buddy Alexander, assistant basketball coach Lyle Husband, and sixth-grade basketball coach Mike Vazquez.
The mother and son are seeking $15 million for punitive damages.