Sexual abuse complaint filed against Oklahoma City Catholic School

OKLAHOMA CITY — Ten current and former students of Mount St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Oklahoma City and six parents or guardians are suing the private school, alleging it fostered “a culture of rape” for more than 10 years.

School officials have known since 2011 that female students have been victims of rape and sexual assault by students, teachers and coaches and have done nothing to stop the attacks, according to the lawsuit filed Monday.

“MSM foster a culture of rape that values ​​the safety, bodily integrity, education, and future of men and boys, over women and girls,” the lawsuit said.

“MSM failed to take reasonable steps to report or stop the rampant rape culture and ongoing sexual abuse…instead, MSM shamed the women and girls who reported,” the lawsuit alleges. .

The lawsuit said the girls reported the assaults to school officials, including the principal, vice-principal and a counselor who each resigned after the allegations began to surface late last year , but did not go further for fear of reprisals by other students, school administrators and teachers.

Mount St. Mary superintendent Laura Cain, who was officially hired on Tuesday and officially begins July 1, said in a statement that she was aware of the lawsuit but could not comment on the ongoing lawsuits. .

“I have been made aware of the lawsuit but am unable to comment on the ongoing legal situations,” Cain said.

“As a former student and former mother, I know the pain our school community has faced. We need to ensure we maintain a compassionate environment where students can grow and excel.”

The lawsuit also names the school’s board of trustees and the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Sisters of Mercy of America, the school’s cosponsors who are responsible for overseeing the school and enforcing school policy. , according to the lawsuit.

The archdiocese learned of the allegations in October and staff immediately contacted police, according to Page Hauser, environmental safety coordinator for the archdiocese.

“They also worked with the school’s board of trustees to hire an independent investigator to investigate the allegations, which resulted in the resignations of three staff members,” Hauser said in a statement Wednesday.

The allegations in the lawsuit include breach of contract for failing to protect students, negligence, discrimination, harassment and defamation.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by allegations of sexual abuse in recent years, leading Pope Francis to pledge justice for victims of clergy sexual abuse after an independent audit blamed the pope retired Benedict XVI for botching four abuse cases when he was Archbishop of Munich. , Germany.

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