2009-01-16 / Front Page

Lawsuit Shines Light On PS 106 Torture Tale

By Howard Schwach

ARockaway family has filed a lawsuit charging that their second grade daughter was tormented by classmates and then sexually assaulted at a local school, but the school principal refused to do anything about it and never reported either the torture or the assault to police.

The suit, asking $2 million in damages, was filed last week in Queens Supreme Court.

It charges that the principal and staffers at PS 106 on Beach 35 Street did nothing to help a little girl when she was targeted for abuse between November 2005 and September 2007, despite repeated pleas from the girl's father.

"You know how my daughter feels? And what my family went through with that school? You have no idea what we went through, me and my family, calling the chancellor, the regional office and everything," the father told CBS television reporter Cindy Chu. "We went to everybody and finally, we went to the cops."

In court papers, the family's attorney, Adam Thompson, said, "[The girl] was violently attacked, battered, struck, forcibly touched and sexually assaulted by a violent and dangerous student."

"Instructors who were responsible for supervising the students did not try to intervene when this attack, forcible touching and rape was taking place," he wrote in the lawsuit.

The Wave is withholding the family's name because of the girl's age and the nature of the attack.

The suit accuses the City of New York, the Department of Education and the school of failing to provide "safe and secure premises for learning free from danger."

A spokesperson for the city's Law Department confirmed that the suit had been filed, but declined to comment further.

In the suit, the family also takes the school principal, Marcella Sills, to task for not reporting the sexual assault to the police.

Police sources confirm that no report on sexual abuse was ever made.

The family says in the suit that their daughter's problems began in 2005 when a male first-grade classmate crept under the door in a bathroom stall and kissed her on the mouth. The suit says that Sills refused to grant the girl a safety transfer to another school.

After some time, the suit alleges, the girl was given a transfer, but no busing to her new school, and she had to remain at PS 106.

The following year, the suit alleges, the little girl was attacked on three separate occasions by gangs of girls and boys in the schoolyard.

"She was violently attacked, assaulted and struck by one boy, causing bruising all over her legs," the suit alleges.

The abuse, the suit says, came in September of 2007, in the school library when a young male student, who was called "violent and dangerous" in the suit, beat, struck and groped" the young girl.

Calls to the school for comment were referred to the Department of Education press office.

Margie Feinberg, a spokesperson for the department said, "We cannot comment on pending litigation."

The girl no longer attends PS 106, a source told The Wave.

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