Free Speech

"Huntsville School District: Seal Sex-Abuse Case"

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From the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, about a school district's motion seeking to seal the proceedings in Nelle v. Huntsville School Dist. (W.D. Ark.), where "plaintiff is alleging that members of a boys basketball team were sexually abused":

"The unfortunate reality is that the only way to protect all of these children from the consequences of decisions adults make is to seal these proceedings in their entirety," according to the motion. "No live testimony and no record of this case -- be it a pleading, motion, brief, court order or otherwise, should be open to the public without a prior order of this Court." …

In her suit, Nelle said the district knew that students on the boys middle school basketball team were being sexually harassed and assaulted by older boys and did little or nothing to stop it….

In the motion to seal, the school district argues that Nelle's complaint includes information that could be used to identify every child involved.

"B.N.'s exact identity is known or knowable with surgical precision by a person with reasonable intelligence reading the Plaintiff's Complaint," according to the motion. "Likewise, the Plaintiff uses similar methodology to identify six alleged child perpetrators by initials and then goes on to say that as many as 17 members of the boys' basketball team may have been victimized." …

According to Nelle's suit, freshman players on the team would "engage in forcible sexual assault against multiple boys' middle school players by having one or more students holding an eighth-grade team member down while one or more middle school basketball players would engage in what was called 'baptism' and 'bean dipping' …"

"Baptism," according to the lawsuit, "refers to the placing of one's genitals on the face and/or in the mouth of another student. 'Bean-dipping,' as the term is used in this complaint, refers to placing a student's rectum and anus on the face and particularly the nose of another student."

I appreciate the concern for the accused students, and perhaps there is room to require refiling with more pseudonymization (for instance, replacing initials with less specific pseudonyms). And of course quasi-criminal proceedings against juveniles are generally held in secret, to protect the accused.

Still, there are limits even there: If, for instance, a stepfather is being prosecuted for molesting a stepdaughter, we don't keep that adult trial secret even when the girl's identity can be easily determined from the trial. The dangers of secret justice—the lack of the opportunity for public supervision of the process, which can lead both to unsound results and to public lack of confidence in the results—are too great to allow such secrecy in the normal criminal justice process. And likewise in the civil justice process: I can't see how court proceedings against a school district, alleging extremely serious legal violations, can take place entirely in secret, even to protect the students who are indirectly accused. Cf. In re N.B. (N.H. 2016) (striking down order requiring civil suit, related to alleged sexual abuse of children by adults, to be filed under seal to "protect[] the identities of the children and others involved in the case"); Doe v. Methacton School Dist. (E.D. Pa. 1995) (reversing decision to seal case, in part because "the case does involve public entities, and other parents have an interest in learning how their school districts address the issue of sexual molestation by teachers and whether the threat of abuse is taken seriously enough").

Thanks to Prof. Robert Steinbuch for the pointer.

NEXT: Eyewitnesses with Their Backs Turned

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  1. I hope we can all agree here that the school isn't doing this to protect the students who were victimized, but to protect the "adults" who did nothing to stop it.

    Yes?

    1. Since "quasi-criminal proceedings against juveniles are generally held in secret" not so much.

      Cynicism, distrust of officials and assumptions of bad faith seem to be the new national quasi-religion.

      1. For some people in modern America, disaffectedness may be about all that is left for them.

      2. Seriously? you're that f'ed up?

        Do you really believe that those crimes all happened without any of the adults knowing about it? Just how big of a chump are you?

        Oh, I get it. You don't want people to be able to know about rapes of girls by boys in skirts let into the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms by insane "trans" policies.

        So you want to start now, helping schools to cover up the sexual molestation of boys.

        Well, I guess it's good that you want sexual molestation and rape covered up, no matter what the sex of the victims

        1. I'd say it's amazing how you ignored what I posted, but you're you.

          1. Greg isn't ignoring what you posted. He's just noticing that there is an obvious motivation for your posting it.

      3. "Cynicism, distrust of officials and assumptions of bad faith seem to be the new national quasi-religion..."

        Are you referring to BLM and the "defund the police" movements? Distrust of the executive branch over the past four years?

        1. "Amazing" that she won't acknowledge that trust of officials and assumptions of good faith are what is truly evidence-ignoring superstition.

    2. "I hope we can all agree here that the school isn’t doing this to protect the students who were victimized, but to protect the “adults” who did nothing to stop it."

      Hey, at least they didn't prosecute the victims' parents to keep them quiet.

    3. I agree with you and secrecy is often the sire of corruption. Sunshine most often is the only way to go.

      It is not enough that justice is done; justice must be SEEN to be done.

  2. I saw the headline and thought this was a bestiality case...

    1. I did too. Poor seal.

      1. I guess I shouldn't have, EV doesn't tend to point to sexual assault cases unless it's to the relatively few where the accusations seem less credible.

        1. You think these accusations are less credible than allegations involving a seal? Whatever does it for you, I guess.

          1. Put your humor chip in, Commander Data.

        2. Seems weird to decry cynicism about officials above and then turn around and engage in the exact same type of cynicism about Professor Volokh's motives.

          1. He's earned it over time...

            1. Being suspect of a single person's record over time doesn't equal general distrusts across the board.

      2. I did too. Poor seal.

        What did Seal do now?

        1. Whatever it was seems to have bunched Anathema's panties.

  3. In the internet era, open court records seems like a mistake.

  4. This is necessary to preserve the constitutional requirement that no government official ever be held accountable.

      1. I look at how alienated and disaffected you are, how much a misfit and malcontent in modern America, and think 'this is the way it should be.'

        Carry on, clingers. You know the rest.

        1. No one not on Team Stupid thinks that the way it is is the way it should be.

  5. Loudon County incident with boy in skirt raping a female was just proven in juvenile court. So much for Obama "fake outrage"....

    1. Are you referring to this report?

      "Authorities have not commented on the youth’s gender identity and it did not become an issue Monday in court. During the hearing, the 15-year-old victim in the first case testified she had consensual sexual encounters with the defendant on two occasions in a girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn. On May 28, she said, the two arranged to meet again and the youth threw her to the floor and forced her to perform sex acts."

      1. Yes.

        "The defendant initially told detectives the second sexual act did not occur, but later said it may have happened briefly and accidentally when a knee-length skirt he was wearing got caught on his watch as the pair were fumbling around in the bathroom stall."

      2. No this:

        "On Monday, juvenile court judge Pamela Brooks ruled that the boy - who has not been named - did force himself on the 15-year-old girl on May 28 in the bathroom at Stone Ridge High School in Leesburg, Virginia. "

      3. Whaddya know? That asshole Kookland provides an actual link not to a music video. Of course, you have to pay to go behind the WaPo's paywall to see if he's lying by implying that the the parent's story about "gender fluidity" was false.

        Here is a partial copy of the WaPo's story: https://www.verityweekly.com/in-case-at-center-of-political-firestorm-judge-finds-teen-committed-sexual-assault-in-virginia-school-bathroom/

        I assume non-paywalled reporting is available. But a link to case documents would probably be more informative than relying on the leugenpresse.

    2. I'm pretty sure your outrage is fake. In fact, you seem downright stoked about this...

      1. WTF? How the fuck does he seem stoked, gaslightro? You're just desperate to deflect from the fact that you've been caught spouting bullshit again.

        1. You've become an outrage addict too, so no wonder you see his post as totally normal. Going in for the gaslightro is just another sign of who you lie down with these days.

          Jimmy thinks the libs have been owned. He's in such a hurry to post he doesn't wait for the open thread, but just comments on a random post.
          His satisfaction at his righteousness is so evident it is dripping.

          1. The fact that he made an off-topic post means he's happy about this? Do you even listen to yourself?

            You were all over the open thread claiming that this was some sort of right-wing conspiracy theory. You're just so pissed off about being owned that you can't bring yourself to be outraged this, or about the political cover-up.

            1. The post isn't remotely off-topic.

            2. Yeah, it does. His eagerness to slam this story into the VC is pretty telling.

              That and his history of partisanship. Yeah, it's quite clear why he posted this story, and it's not that he was super sad about the rape. Neither are you. Neither is gandydancer.

              You are into the gender aspect, weak though it may be, and willing to use pretending outrage at this rape as a tool to try and win your argument.

              1. The 'gender' aspect? There is no 'gender' aspect. What the fuck are they even talking about?

                1. Wearing the wrong genders' clothing may not have much to do with being trans, but they're sure going to try and make it so!

                  1. I'm told that wearing the wrong gender's clothing is a big part of being trans, but I guess you'll say anything to further your narrative.

                    1. Crossdressing does not make you trans, some guys just like the freedom of skirts.
                      Nor do all trans people wish to dress as their gender.

                    2. "Crossdressing does not make you trans, some guys just like the freedom of skirts."

                      The freedom to go into the girls restroom and commit rape?

                    3. That's not what this thread is about, TiP.
                      Do try and stay on topic.

              2. "You are into the gender aspect, weak though it may be, and willing to use pretending outrage at this rape as a tool to try and win your argument."

                Accusing others of fake outrage when your side does something outrageous is pretty weak sauce, Sarcastro. You should just admit you were wrong.

              3. "You are into the gender aspect, weak though it may be."

                You aren't paying attention, Sarcastro.

                Decent people are outraged because:

                1. A girl was raped in a girls room by a boy wearing a skirt.
                2. The school attempted to handle the issue in house, and lied about it happening.
                3. At a school board meeting to discuss trans restroom issues, the school continued to falsely deny that the incident happened. They had the victim's father arrested.
                4. The National School Board Association used this incident, among others, to falsely claim that concerned parents are domestic terrorists, and Garland used the claim to ask the national security apparatus to investigate parents at school boards.

                The NSBA has apologized for its letter, and the letter's author was given an appointment from the Biden administration.

                1. So not a trans issue. Not a coverup. Just your usual partisan haymaking about a rape.

                  I don't think this backs up your litany of outrages at all.

                  1. The school lying on two occasions and saying that the rape didn't happen isn't a coverup?

                    And you wonder why people call you gaslightro?

                    1. The school attempted to handle the issue in house, and lied about it happening

                      Are you claiming this is related to the boy wearing a skirt?

                    2. So which is it?

                      Is it a coverup, but not a trans issue?
                      Is it a trans issue, but not a coverup?

                      Because so far you have explicitly denied both.

      2. That is pretty sick even from you Sarc. Stop being a rape apologist. That is just downright disgusting.

        1. Oh, I think it's worthy of outrage.

          I just think you are super happy this happened because all you see is a new partisan cudgel to play with.

          1. That only exists in your sick, twisted mind where you think rape is OK as long as the perpetrator is of the appropriate identity politics checkboxes.

            1. Yeah, I remember the part where I said this rape was OK.

              No, I'm saying that there are lots of rapes occur daily and this is the one you get super mad about because you're not really mad, you just think appealing to emotion might make you own the libs a bit.

              Good luck with that. Your priorities are evident.

          2. "I just think you are super happy this happened because all you see is a new partisan cudgel to play with."

            This is just a sick version of the "Republicans pounce" mentality.

            Sarcastro's team gets caught covering up a rape and using the response to sic the FBI on concerned parents, and all Sarcastro can bring himself to comment on is that it might score political points for the other side.

            1. No one covered up a rape.

              1. The school board denied knowledge of it, even though they got an email about it the day it happened. They didn't report it as required by state law. After the first sexual assault by the student in question, the student was quietly transferred rather than expelled or prosecuted. What more evidence do you want that they covered it up?

                1. 1) You are all talking about it.
                  2) The transfer of the student has zero to do with the incident in question here
                  3) I see no evidence of lack of reporting

                  So no, I see no evidence if a cover-up, just outrage bait you guys are gobbling up like the addicts you are.

                  1. 1. The school sent home an email on the day of the incident claiming that the incident was confined to the main office and that there was no risk to the student body.

                    2. The school superintendent falsely said that there were no reports of rapes occurring in their restrooms, when he knew about this report because he emailed the board about it.

                    You see, this is why we call you Gaslightro.

                    1. And the students who walked out in protest over the cover-up yesterday sure think it was covered up.

                  2. You are presenting evidence that the cover-up failed, not that it never happened, Gaslighto.

      3. In most posts here he's doubting claims of sexual assault (like EV). But this has a hint of trans, so he's all in.

    3. It seems like there's really two issues here, and people on both sides are weirdly conflating them:

      1) Did a skirt-wearing kid rape a girl in a school bathroom? Seems like yes. This calls into question the school board's previous statement that the weren't aware of a rape in a bathroom. (For a while I thought maybe the girl was raped somewhere other than a bathroom, so the school board was being overly cute.) Also it seems like the rapist was just quietly shuffled off to another school. That all seems terrible, and the father of the victim and others in the community are correctly very angry about this.

      2) Is this event a good reason to stop allowing trans kids into the bathrooms of their choice, or otherwise demonize them? Importantly, does it reinforce the notion that there are a bunch of cis boys who will use these policies to get into girls' bathrooms and rape girls? I actually think now that we have more details it's very clear this case does not support this line of argument. In particular, since the rapist and the victim had previously had consensual sex in the bathroom, it's clear that the bathroom was just a convenient and private place for the two to meet and hook up, not somewhere the rapist was finding unsuspecting victims. I'm not saying this to justify the rape in any way, just to point that the context of the "girl raped by skirt-wearing kid in bathroom" is being misleadingly used by anti-trans advocates.

      Without knowing the inner workings of Obama's mind and with only a few sentences to work off of, this last point seems to be what he's decrying. If the focus of the dialogue here was "hey, why was this kid allowed to keep going to school even after raping a girl, unsupervised to the point that they ended up raping another girl at the new school" we'd hopefully mostly be having a conversation holding the school board and administrators accountable. But instead, folks on the right have been trying to use this as an argument against trans kids and their bathroom preferences, and that's where the outrage feels fake because the bathroom really is only very tangentially related to the crimes and problems here.

      1. "In particular, since the rapist and the victim had previously had consensual sex in the bathroom, it’s clear that the bathroom was just a convenient and private place for the two to meet and hook up, not somewhere the rapist was finding unsuspecting victims."

        It used to be that girls restrooms weren't convenient places to meet and hook up, because boys weren't allowed in them. But here the school covered up this incident, lied to parents and said that no such incident had taken place, and passed a policy allowing boys into girls bathrooms.

        1. Okay, so they would have gone under the bleachers or to a storage closet or wherever else instead. Are you under the impression that motivated kids didn't manage to find places to have sex on school campuses in the past? The fact that the rapist was wearing a skirt and that this happened in the girl's bathroom does not change anything about this story: if the rapist was dressed as a boy and everything happened in the yearbook dark room, everyone would be rightly upset for the right reasons. The fact that people are trying to make it about the skirt and the bathroom is the fake outrage, because neither of them have anything to do with the crime.

          1. The same kid assaulted a different girl in a classroom a couple of weeks later. Perhaps we can't keep predators out of every space in school, but why are you so desperate to have them in the girls restrooms?

            1. What anti-trans policy would have kept this out of the girl's restroom?

              1. ?? A policy preventing boys from going in the girls restroom, whether they wear skirts or not.

                1. How would that have been enforced?

                  It appears you don't know the facts of the case here.

                  1. You have an awful lot of fake-seeming outrage over the idea that schools can have and enforce disciplinary policies.

                    Why is that?

                    1. Schools can have and enforce disciplinary policies.
                      But since that doesn't seem like it would have prevented this case, it's not really worth discussing.

                    2. That's hilarious. Usually leftists are the ones who criticize the idea that policies must be perfect to be worth having our enforcing

              2. So, you're confident that when they went in there there were no girls already present? B/c it certainly seems to me that school policy about boys in girl's bathrooms would affect how convenient it is for these trysts to proceed.

                Anyway, contra the op, a lot of the outrage IS about the coverup and otherwise inadequate discipline and prevention. This incident anyway didn't get any traction until the National School Board Association decided to use the assault on the parent as a prime example of Terrorist Parents.

                1. Making up what the facts may have been should tell you the facts won't get you there. But that's never stopped you, who hate reading the primary sources.

                  There was no coverup.

                  This is only a national news story because there's a crossdressing angle and the right has decided to make it into their outrage today.

            2. The fact that the rapist assaulted a different girl not in the girls' bathroom is making my point for me: the rape has nothing to do with the bathroom, and the rapist was perfectly capable of doing the same thing in other places.

              If you're going to take the proposition that trans boys shouldn't be allowed anywhere where other trans boys have managed to either have consensual or nonconsensual sex with girls, then the same logic cis boys should be excluded from just about everywhere on campus. It only makes sense to focus on the bathroom setting if somehow the fact that it happened in the bathroom made it possible to commit the crime that wouldn't have been feasible in just about any other room in the school.

              1. Sigh. I meant "trans girls" not "trans boys" above, in case that wasn't clear above.

                1. ~" Sigh. Even Woke me can't keep this stupid confusing-sex lingo straight."

              2. Literally nobody has been claiming that rape can only happen in a girls restroom. The claim is that letting boys in the girls restroom increases the risk, which appears to have happened in this case.

                1. We're supposed to believe that no teacher had a clue that this perp was lusting after girls and trolling his minders by wearing a skirt. And that no girl realized this and complained, or didn't complainm b/c it wasn't PC.

                2. The only thing missing is any plausible explanation about why the risk is increased.

                  Here's a story about a rape in a men's bathroom: https://historiccity.com/2019/staugustine/news/rape-occurred-in-mens-restroom-of-casa-del-hidalgo-74287

                  I guess by your line of argumentation, letting men into mens' bathrooms is also dangerous so we should ban that?

                  1. "The only thing missing is any plausible explanation about why the risk is increased."

                    Give this man his Team Stupid Platinum membership card.

                    1. I've noticed that when you get trapped like this, you resort to empty insults.

                  2. "I guess by your line of argumentation, letting men into mens' bathrooms is also dangerous so we should ban that?"

                    If you want to argue against sex-segregated spaces, be my guest. But AFAICT, nobody is making that argument.

                    1. This, there is no arguement for having a boys and girls bathroom that survives opening up girls bathrooms to the trans.

      2. "just to point that the context of the “girl raped by skirt-wearing kid in bathroom” is being misleadingly used by anti-trans advocates."

        How the fuck is it being misleadingly used?

        1. It's being misleadingly used because it's being insinuated that this kid was using trans-accommodating policies as a way to get into the girls' bathroom where he could prey on girls. When in fact he and the girl were just using the bathroom as a private place to meet up, and there's no evidence that transgender-related policies had anything to do with the incident at all.

          1. "It’s being misleadingly used because it’s being insinuated that this kid was using trans-accommodating policies as a way to get into the girls’ bathroom where he could prey on girls..."

            And that's exactly what he did. The fact that he previously used trans-accommodating policies to get into the girls' bathroom to have consensual sex with a girl doesn't help the case, it hurts it.

            And two weeks later he forced himself on a girl in a classroom.

            Why do people want him in the girls restroom so bad?

            1. If he was not allowed in the girls rest room in the first place, it would not have been as convenient to have sex in.

              So, the "trans" policy did enable it.

              1. But as usual the problems isn't anyone trans, it's predatory cis males acting with cynical impunity. Maybe there should be policies for that.

                1. "But as usual the problems isn't anyone trans, it's predatory cis males..."

                  Cis males? The dude was wearing a skirt.

            2. That appears to not be what happened.

              "The case generated local and national attention after the parents of the girl assaulted in May said the charged youth was “gender fluid,” prompting renewed backlash against a policy in Loudoun County schools that allows transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. That policy was adopted after the May assault."

              It seems that policy wasn't in place at the time the rape occurred. So he was actually violating the policy at the time by being in the girl's restroom.

          2. The leftists are scrambling to split hairs here....

            1. They're certainly scrambling. It seems the Team Stupid Wokists at the NSBA had to write a letter to their members (nationally, membership is mandatory, I understand) apologizing for siccig Garland on parents. https://twitter.com/NoahPollak/status/1451705222531674112?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1451705222531674112%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalreview.com%2Fnews%2Fnational-school-boards-association-apologizes-for-letter-comparing-parents-to-terrorists%2F

              Anf it seems Garland has denied knowing anything about the incident that had caused him to launch himself into that siccing. If Team Stupid members were capable of feeling embarrassment their faces would all be red.

              1. ...the mandatory nature of membership is apparently being reviewed. Just saw a tweet claiming that "...the Ohio School Boards Association [has] voted to terminate its membership with the National School Boards Association."

                That it took two weeks for the NSBA to get its letter out told you that it wasn't exactly voluntary.

                1. Appearantly the president of the Association colluded with the White House to write the letter without the BoD's knowelge. She was subsequently rewarded with an appointment to a federal board.

                2. I'm not a giant Mitch McConnell fan, but thank the good Lord he kept Garland off the Supreme Court.

      3. If the focus of the dialogue here was “hey, why was this kid allowed to keep going to school even after raping a girl, unsupervised to the point that THEY ended up raping another girl at the new school”

        Sheesh.

        But instead, folks on the right have been trying to use this as an argument against trans kids and their bathroom preferences, and that’s where the outrage feels fake because the bathroom really is only very tangentially related to the crimes and problems here.

        No, it's not. It was a BOY in a GIRL'S bathroom. Not a "trans kid" in a ~"bathroom of they's choice". No one is worried about girl trannys raping boys.

        1. It's telling that it's not the rape that's triggering to you, it's the pronoun.

          1. That the idiocy of the pronoun is telling about you is the precise point.

            1. The pronoun is the point, not the rape? Yeah, we get it.

  6. "Loudon County incident with boy in skirt raping a female was just proven in juvenile court."

    Was it?

      1. Whether the sex was consensual is a jury question, unless the victim was a minor and therefore too young to be capable of giving consent.

        1. Juvenile courts don't have juries.

        2. Both the perpetrator and the victim were juveniles, so whole different system.

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