Lawsuit: Culver City High football players raped girl, recorded it

Lawsuit alleges three Culver City HS students raped 14-year-old student

A lawsuit filed by a former Culver City High School student claims she was raped by three of the school’s football players on campus during school hours and that one of the rapes was video recorded by her attackers and then distributed to other students.

The incidents occurred in December 2013, according to the lawsuit, which accuses the Culver City Unified School District of negligence, saying officials failed to supervise the victim and the alleged attackers.

The suit was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by the girl’s mother on her behalf.

Culver City High School football Coach Jahmal Wright declined to comment, referring questions to district officials.

In a statement Tuesday, Culver City Unified School District Supt. Dave LaRose said the district had cooperated with police and only recently learned of the girl’s lawsuit.

LaRose said the district had "responded immediately and cooperatively to this incident with the Culver City Police Department.”

In addition to the district, the suit names then-student Jeremy Weaver and two unnamed students, who were minors at the time, as defendants. All three were starters on the school’s varsity football team at the time, according to the lawsuit.

The victim, identified as “A.S.” in court documents, was a 14-year-old freshman at Culver City High at the time, the lawsuit says.

According to the suit, Weaver and another student invited her out to the school parking lot to listen to music in early December 2013. Both then raped her. The next day, Weaver allegedly raped her again, with the help of a different male student.

Over the course of nearly three weeks in December, the suit claims, the three football players, who were in “peak physical condition, extremely strong, and physically intimidating,” allegedly repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her on campus.

One of the incidents was recorded, the suit claims, and the video was distributed to other students. The football players also allegedly spread "malicious rumors regarding A.S.’s ‘sexual promiscuity,’ ” the lawsuit says.

She allegedly endured “relentless bullying, humiliation, and trauma” as a result and had to move to new schools twice.

A few weeks after the alleged assaults, the girl came forward and confided in her mother, said Judith Yedidsion, an attorney representing her family. She and her mother reported the incident to police and to school officials in January 2014, Yedidsion said.

That’s when, the suit alleges, Weaver and one of the other boys confronted the victim, pressuring her to recant her accusations, threatening her and physically intimidating her.

Even after the alleged assaults were reported, Yedidsion says, Weaver and the other two boys were able to attend football games, leaving the victim “very vulnerable, scared, and apprehensive.”

The girl, now 15, eventually moved with her mother to Chicago, according to the lawsuit. She has attempted suicide and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the claims.

Jail records show Weaver was arrested about a month after the alleged rapes occurred.

He was charged with four felony counts -- three counts of illegal sex acts with a minor and one count of dissuading a witness, Culver City police said. He was convicted on one count of illegal sex acts with a minor, and all the other charges were dismissed or not prosecuted. 

No other students were arrested or charged, Culver City police said.

Weaver served no jail time but was sentenced to five years' formal probation and ordered to stay away from the victim, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

According to the civil complaint, the girl’s family filed a negligence claim against the school district in May, roughly four months after reporting the incidents to school officials. District officials denied that claim on July 24.

Supt. LaRose's statement on Tuesday concluded:

“CCUSD and our entire community believe the health, welfare and safety of our students is paramount, and we responded immediately and cooperatively to this incident with the Culver City Police Department. Our district will remain unwavering in our commitment to protect the children we serve and respond aggressively to any action that challenges this priority.”

For more breaking news, follow @cmaiduc and @josephserna.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times