Parents of cheerleader seek justice from alleged rapist through civil suit
After a grand jury threw out charges against their daughter's alleged rapists, the parents of a Silsbee High School cheerleader pursued an alternative form of justice and filed suit against the accused attacker and the political officials who allegedly refused to lift a finger.
The 17-year-old cheerleader, identified as "H.S." in the suit, is alleging a massive conspiracy committed by the Silsbee Independent School District and Hardin County District Attorney to keep Rakheem Bolton, the young man who allegedly raped her, and another SISD student out of jail, court papers say.
According to the federal lawsusit filed May 8 in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas, Bolton, a Silsbee high school basketball player, is one of three men accused of sexually assaulting the cheerleader at party on Oct. 19, 2008.
All the parties involved were underage and intoxicated at the time of the incident, court papers say.
A Hardin County grand jury heard testimony from the girl in January and weighed the evidence, but failed to return an indictment against any of the accused. The suit alleges the decision was based on "the race factor."
The suit says the grand jury was racially divided and unjustly dismissed the evidence against Bolton, a black male.
In addition to the school district and Bolton, the suit also names SISD Superintendent Richard Bain Jr., Silsbee High Principal Gaye Lokey, SISD cheerleading sponsor Sissy McInnis and Hardin County District Attorney David Sheffield as defendants.
The suit insinuates one of the reasons no legal action was taken against Bolton is because DA "Sheffield was politically supported by friends and family of Bolton."
The suit goes on to allege SISD and its officials "were insensitive to the victim, H.S. and more sympathetic to the rapists," and that the SISID defendants "criticized" her for not cheering for Bolton during his basketball games.
"H.S. was criticized and warned by McInnis, Lokey and Bain that her refusal to cheer her attacker would lead to her expulsion from the cheerleading squad," the suit states, adding that the defendants' actions have violated her civil rights.
The parents of H.S. are suing for her loss of liberty and enjoyment of life.
They are represented by Houston attorney Larry Watts.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.
Case No. 1:09-cv-00374-TH