A Washington, D.C., high school principal has been placed on administrative leave after she was caught on camera mocking a student who claimed she was sexually assaulted at school.
According to The Washington Post, the unidentified girl reported the incident to Principal Aqueelha James, of Roosevelt High School. During her meeting with James, the girl said a male student forced her into a bathroom stall, where he forcibly kissed her and attempted to put his hand up her dress. The girl said she was able to get away, but the boy left a hickey on her neck.
During the meeting, the girl’s mother, who was also present, was recording their conversation.
“I’m here to support and be of assistance,” James initially told them. “I don’t like the idea that your daughter has been assaulted sexually. It is a crime.”
When the mother and daughter left the room, the phone stayed in the room, where it picked up James’ remarks. The mother said she accidentally left the phone behind.
In the recording, James said “sick of her (the girl) and her mom” and that she planned to try to “embarrass her ass.”
“This is a bunch of bulls**t,” James said. She also criticized the girl’s clothing and said she would describe the child’s attire to police in a way that could discredit her claims of sexual assault.
“This . . . is going to compromise her,” James can allegedly be heard saying in the audio. “And that’s why I’m going to go the extra mile and call MPD. 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.”
Although school system initially launched and closed an investigation into the principal back in June when the allegations were first made, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday that she had listened to the audio and called on D.C. public schools to re-examine the principal’s antics.
The student’s mother is now suing James and the D.C. officials in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They are seeking a minimum of $5 million in actual and punitive damages, claiming that James and school officials did not investigate the sexual assault allegations adequately and that James also defamed the minor by calling her credibility into question with authorities.
Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd also said it's vital that a thorough and swift investigation take place regarding the principal's unacceptable conduct.
You can listen to a recording of the meeting between James and the girl below:
(Photo: F64/Getty Images)