ROLAND, Iowa (WHO) — The family of a former Roland-Story student has filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission against the school district following a felony assault that occurred in January of 2022.

The alleged assaulter, who was 16 at the time of the assault, was initially charged with forcible felony assault as an adult for allegedly stripping the victim’s clothing off along with a second juvenile and inserted a colored pencil into the victim’s anus.

Under Iowa law, anyone who commits a forcible felony at the age of 16 is initially charged as an adult.

The complaint filed on December 19 alleges after the assault was reported to the school and Department of Human Services on April 22, the district did nothing to protect the victim from the suspect on school grounds.

Alison Kanne, an attorney with Wandro and Associates is representing the victim.

“It’s really sad all the way around. This began with a vicious sexual assault that has been characterized by the school district as bullying, hazing, or just a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude,” Kanne said. “What really stood out to me in this case is how the school district appeared to prioritize the well-being of their state champion wrestler over the well-being of its students.”

The complaint alleges school officials did not offer to separate the victim from the suspect after the district was aware of the reported assault. Instead, the victim was forced to choose between attending school alongside the teen or completing the school year online.

The victim and older brother completed the rest of the school year virtually. The victim’s family left the school district and moved away in early July.

The complaint states when the victim left the school district about four weeks before the semester ended they finished most of their classes online; however, the school docked them credits for classes they could not finish online. The victim had completed about 95% of the work. The school also forced them to talk with each of their teachers individually about them leaving at the end of the year, but would not tell the teachers what was going on with them, citing a “gag order” that did not exist, the complaint said.

The basis for the complaint was filed under sexual discrimination.

“It is apparent in looking at the facts of this case, my client, who is a minor, would have been treated differently had he been a female who had been sexually assaulted by another student,” Kanne said.

The filing with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is the first step in the legal process for filing a civil claim against the school district.

“In the state of Iowa, in order to bring a discrimination claim of any kind you have to bring a claim to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission first, allow them to go through their own investigation process and at the end they issue something that gives you the right to bring a lawsuit,” Kanne said.

His criminal charges were moved to juvenile court after he agreed to plead guilty to the felony assault charge as part of a plea deal. Sentencing is scheduled for January 13.

The Roland-Story CSD did not respond for comment on the complaint filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.