A jury has awarded a $5.25 million verdict to a boy who claims he was raped and bullied by a fellow student at Downtown Miami Charter School.
The jury delivered the verdict Tuesday afternoon, after they spent the morning in deliberations in the case of John Doe vs. Charter Schools USA.
The award is for pain and suffering. Attorneys for the charter school said they will appeal the verdict.
Jeffrey Herman, the attorney for the boy and his mother, said the verdict was vindication and said the boy will now be able to afford much needed therapy.
The plaintiff in the case claimed he was just seven years old when he was attacked by an 11-year-old fifth-grader at the school.
The younger boy's attorney, Jeff Herman, claims the boy was raped on the way to school in a transport van back in 2011. The older boy allegedly raped him two more times in the school restroom. The seven-year-old boy then allegedly tried to kill himself and told his therapist he wanted to die.
The defense argued the boy was already traumatized by his little sister's recent death. They also claim the bathroom assaults never happened.
The Downtown Miami Charter School released the following statement regarding the verdict:
“The Downtown Miami Charter School is very disappointed with the jury's verdict. The Downtown Miami Charter School always places the safety of our students and our higher academic excellence as our first priority. We would like to extend our heart filled gratitude to all of our parents and students who have overwhelmingly demonstrated their support, loyalty and dedication to the Downtown Miami Charter School during this very difficult time.”
Last week, the boy's mother and the school's principal both testified. Principal Rebecca Dinda said she did everything by the book after she heard of the rape allegations.
The boy's mother had been seeking $25 million in damages.