Civil rights complaint filed against teen-ager for harassment -- The Maine Archive on the Queer Resources Directory

A s s o c i a t e d - P r e s s

Friday May 2, 1997

Civil rights complaint filed against teen-ager for harassment

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A Cony High School student accused of harassing another student because he believed he was gay has been named in a civil rights complaint filed by the state Attorney General's Office.

The 16-year-old from Windsor abused a 15-year-old Augusta boy in hallways and classrooms for at least four months, according to the complaint.

In filing the lawsuit Wednesday in Superior Court, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Wessler cited the persistence of the harassment and the violence of the initial attack.

``When they are banging a kid's head into the floor, the attackers are taking the risk that something catastrophic is going to happen,'' said Wessler, who heads the state's civil rights unit.

The lawsuit asks for a permanent injunction that would bar the 16-year-old from having any contact with the victim, and also asks for financial penalties, attorney fees and other relief.

On Dec. 16, the 16-year-old and another boy attacked the victim in the school hallway, knocking him to the ground, kicking him, pulling his hair and slamming his head against the ground, according to the complaint.

Despite meetings with school officials, and intervention by police, the harassment continued until this week.

Cony High School Principal Geraldine Massey said teachers and administrators tried everything to separate the two, meeting continually with the older boy, rearranging schedules, and eventually working with police.

``I have seen harassment of students by one another but I have never seen anything that has gone on for this long a time. The involvement of administration, teachers and police did not contain it,'' she said.

Police issued a notice to cease all harassment in April. When a teacher reported another incident this week, Massey advised the teacher to call the Attorney General's Office.

The 16-year-old student was suspended from school for an unrelated matter, Massey said Thursday.

``I hope it will send him a very ... clear message that he can't do this kind of thing, and I hope that he will be able to change his behavior,'' said Assistant Attorney General Francis Ackerman.

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