CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A jury of eight people who sat in the trial of a former Myers Park High School student against Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education has ruled CMS did not violate the Title IX rights of the former student.
The jury began deliberating Friday and had to come to a unanimous verdict on four questions. The first three questions regarded Myers Park High School's status as a Title IX school, if an assault happened, and if "Jane Doe" let the appropriate person know.
The jury answered yes to all three questions. However, the jury answered that CMS was not deliberately indifferent to investigating Doe's claims of sexual assault.
CMS said in a statement, "We are grateful the jury reached their decision after hearing all of the evidence."
The lawyer for Doe said she was disappointed with the verdict, but that she was "incredibly proud" to be a part of the case, saying the case helped survivors come forward.
The lawsuit says officials did not protect the former student, known as "Jane Doe," from getting raped on the Myers Park campus in 2015. In the suit, the 15-year-old Jane Doe says another student, an 18-year-old male, grabbed her and took her from campus and forced her into the nearby woods, and sexually assaulted her despite her verbal protests.
Doe alleges after the assault officials did not react in a timely and appropriate manner.
The first few days of the trial saw witnesses called to the stand, including former students who claimed to be a victim and witnesses in other sexual assaults on campus. Doe's parents were also called to the stand and faced cross-examination by defense attorneys for both CMS and the city of Charlotte.
Jane Doe herself would testify on Thursday, detailing her alleged sexual assault and the school district's response. District lawyers brought up three specific times that officials from the school tried to get a statement from Jane Doe, but she reiterated her claim that Officer Bradley Leak, the school resource officer, did not ask her about what actually happened.
There were also some heated moments in the courtroom between the school district's lawyer and Jane Doe. One interaction resulted in the lawyers for both parties having to go into the judge's chambers. As a result, the interaction between Doe and the district's lawyer was removed from the official court transcript.
Anthony Perkins, a former assistant principal at Myers Park, was also called to the stand Thursday to share his version of events. He said he acted within his duties, but that Doe's family did not work with CMS or CMPD in their investigations into what happened.
The city would eventually be dropped from the suit on Thursday after a judge granted a motion from its attorneys. CMS was the sole defendant after that point.
Both sides made their closing arguments Friday, holding true to the same claims made by both. Doe's lawyers also called for the district to pay for counseling and medication for 50 years, along with $1 million for lifetime damages.