WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Dowling Catholic High School and several staff members are facing a lawsuit after a former student says she was sexually assaulted on campus.
Dowling Catholic High School, a principal, a teacher, a counselor and a former student are all listed as defendants.
According to court documents, back in 2017 a 17-year-old student was allegedly forced into performing oral sex on a recent Dowling graduate in the school parking lot after a school-sponsored event. The lawsuit says the school and staff members failed to provide adequate security, follow a safety plan, investigate the incident and violated the alleged victim’s privacy.
The alleged suspect is the son of two Dowling staff members. Allegedly, when the victim’s father asked the principal if the situation would have been handled differently if the accused graduate’s parents were not school employees, the defendant responded yes “because the parents were his colleagues, he felt he owed them a professional courtesy to inform them of the plaintiff’s allegations.”
Dowling Catholic High School released a statement in response to the allegations:
“Dowling Catholic High School is committed to developing Leaders for Life, Centered on Christ. An important priority is to create a safe and trusted environment for all of our students. While we cannot comment on any pending litigation, we can assure you our faculty and staff are well trained to follow a specific process if a student reports an incident. It is our understanding that the basis of the legal claim involved a situation that occurred in August 2017. The individuals involved have since graduated from Dowling Catholic. We believe that the representation of our employees’ actions is inaccurate and look forward to resolving this matter through the appropriate legal channels.”
No criminal charges have been filed. A temporary no-contact order between the plaintiff and alleged assaulter is in place. A hearing is scheduled for next month.