SHOSHONE — A 14-year-old girl who reported being raped by an older classmate in April at her Shoshone school is depressed, and her family is struggling, her mother says.
Federal court records say the girl was a student at Shoshone Middle School when a 17-year-old boy, who was “a prominent athlete at the school,” violently and forcibly had sex with the girl without her consent in a computer lab. The incident was apparently captured on a video recording.
The boy pleaded guilty to eight counts of felony lewd conduct in juvenile court.
The girl’s family filed a lawsuit Dec. 27 in U.S. District Court, alleging the Shoshone School District had a “deliberate indifferent response,” failed to appropriately investigate and respond, and subjected the victim to a “hostile environment and sexual discrimination that denied her an education in the District.”
“I don’t care about the money,” the victim’s mother, Silvia, told the Times-News Wednesday in a phone interview. “I’m not doing this for the money.”
The Times-News isn’t disclosing Silvia’s last name to protect her daughter’s identity.
Silvia said she’s pursuing the lawsuit because she believes the Shoshone School District was wrong to tell her daughter she couldn’t stay at school following the April incident. She says the perpetrator has been allowed to finish his education at the high school.
“I’m so angry,” Silvia said. “He can finish school, and nobody cares about the education of my daughter.”
Shoshone School District Superintendent Rob Waite said Friday he has been encouraged to limit comments on pending litigation. But he said he urges people to understand the allegations that the school failed to investigate are “just a one-sided story.”
The school district is working with legal counsel to file a formal response by Feb. 1 that will be “vigorous and detailed,” Waite said. Then, he said, both sides of the story will be available.
Within 10 days of the incident in April, a Shoshone school administrator held a meeting with Silvia and her daughter and presented two options for schooling, the lawsuit says: Stop attending Shoshone schools “with no further remedial action of any kind” or be homeschooled, with the school providing homework assignments weekly.
“The principal told me and my daughter that we only had two options,” Silvia said Wednesday. “I’m still mad. I don’t think so — that you don’t have the right to tell my daughter what to do.”
Silvia, who speaks English as a second language, said she thought maybe the school principal wasn’t understanding her because of her English language abilities. Spanish is her first language.
“To be sure, I called the (Lincoln County) sheriff,” she said. “He came to the school office.”
Sheriff Rene Rodriguez helped interpret the conversation to ensure everyone understood what was said, Silvia said.
After that meeting, Silvia decided her daughter would be homeschooled. Her daughter received homework the first week, but not after that.
Now, Silvia and her children have been renting a house in Gooding for about four months. The girl and her brother attend school in the Gooding School District.
Silvia’s husband, a mechanic, is still living in their rented house in Shoshone.
“He has lots of cars he’s fixing,” she said. “It’s not easy to move all this stuff.”
The family is now paying rent on two houses.
The family has spent 19 years in the Magic Valley. They lived in Gooding for 17 years before moving to Shoshone two years ago.
Silvia said her daughter is undergoing mental health counseling.
“She’s a really high risk to commit suicide because she’s so depressed.” Her daughter’s therapist told Silvia she needs to ask her daughter every single day, “Are you planning to do something?”
She said her daughter has stomach ulcers and has been told she needs to see a doctor in Boise, but they don’t have the money to travel for an appointment.
“We’re having lots of problems with my daughter,” Silvia said. “She’s so depressed because she thinks she did something bad because the guy’s in school.”
Silvia said her daughter received a text message in February — prior to the incident at the school — from the 17-year-old perpetrator.
Silvia asked her son who the boy was. She then texted the boy and told him he wasn’t allowed to communicate with her daughter.
“He didn’t care,” she said.
Silvia said the video of the rape was painful to watch — particularly, how the boy treated her daughter.
While talking with a Times-News reporter on the phone, she began to cry. She said she still sees those images when she closes her eyes.
“Every single day I’m thinking, ‘How can this happen at school?’” Silvia said.
Silvia said she doesn’t know what happened with the boy’s sentencing. She asks the prosecutor’s office, she said, and they’ve said they’re going to call.
Silvia said she went to the emergency room with high blood pressure while stressed about what was happening with the boy’s case. Her daughter has started sleeping in bed with her and has nightmares about the boy.
“My daughter doesn’t want to go anywhere,” Silvia said. “She wants to be with me. She’s just scared. It’s sad because the family — it’s not only affected my daughter, but it’s affected my whole family. We used be really close.”
Silvia said the family can’t afford the gas money to travel between Shoshone and Gooding every day. When they go to Shoshone on the weekends, they’ve seen the 17-year-old boy around town. “Shoshone,” she said, “is a small town.
“What do we need to do, move to another state?” Silvia said. “It’s hard. It’s really hard.”
It’s painful, she said, because the family feels like they need to be hiding. “Every day we’re in the house. We don’t want to go anywhere because we see the guy everywhere.”
Silvia said her daughter doesn’t want to go to Shoshone to visit her father because she’s worried they’ll see her attacker.
“I don’t see my daughter smile,” she said. “I want to see my daughter smile again. She’s so scared.”
Over the summer, Silvia said they went to four therapy appointments each week: three for her daughter and one for her.
She said she lost her longtime job of 14 years cleaning a house for a Hailey family because she didn’t have the money for gas.
Silvia said her son wanted to continue playing soccer, so he lived with his aunt in Gooding before the family moved there.
But her daughter was scared to go back to school. She started going to classes in September — about a month after the school year began.
The family is relying on help with needs such as buying food. Silvia is picking up work cleaning houses — any jobs she can find. Her attorney helped her find a house to clean in Mountain Home.
At her previous job in Hailey, the homeowner gave Silvia old clothing, shoes and jewelry she no longer wanted. Now, Silvia is selling those items.
Silvia also makes tamales and has a taco stand — which is closed for the winter — that she hopes to reopen.
“I’m looking what I can do because I really need to…” she said, her voice trailing off. “It’s hard. It’s a really hard situation.”
“I don’t see my daughter smile. I want to see my daughter smile again. She’s so scared.”
“I don’t see my daughter smile. I want to see my daughter smile again. She’s so scared.” Silvia