An Ohio family has filed a lawsuit against St. James Elementary and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati claiming that their 12-year-old daughter was groomed for months by pedophiles on a school-issued Chromebook that was supposed to be monitored.
A lawyer representing the family says that the school failed to inform the family that their child had been targeted by several grown men and an older student through the system.
“The school and inherently the church possessed personal knowledge that this was going on with at least several different grown men. One of them, another older student, within the St. James network,” Austin LiPuma, the attorney representing the family told Fox 19.
LiPuma says that the communications took place from August 2020 through February 2021, without the family having any knowledge of it.
“What we do know is there is a messaging platform called Discord. Through this website that was not allowed to be accessed according to those on policies arbitrary adults were able to contact solicit and predate on a 12-year-old minor in which the school knew,” he said.
The family is working to find the real identities of the predators.
“She had no idea who these men were, and that is part of the problem. With the vulnerable nature of a child, that’s exactly why there are protections in place. Protections that are issued from the church’s own promulgated handbooks all the way to law. That’s why we try to protect children because they need it,” LiPuma said.
The school sent a letter to parents claiming that the safety of students is “of paramount importance.”
“You may see reports in the news media about a pending lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and St. James School related to the online activity of a former student. We are unable to comment on active litigation. Please rest assured that the safety of our students, whether in person or online, is of paramount importance to St. James School,” the letter said. “While no set of policies or practices is foolproof, we strive to do everything in our power to create a safe environment for your children. When it comes to the internet, safety is necessarily a partnership between parents, students, and the school.”
“Please join me in praying for a just outcome to this matter and in continuing to make St. James School a faithful, vibrant and safe learning environment,” the letter concluded.
Timcast has reached out to staff at St. James Elementary for comment and will update this article if one is provided.