The parents of three fourth-grade girls who say a group of boys attacked and sexually assaulted them on the playground last month have come forward to demand that the Charles County superintendent and other school officials step down for their "botched" response to the incident.
A 10-year-old was charged with fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault after the girls said three boys attacked them on the Gale-Bailey Elementary School playground on Oct. 29, school officials and parents told News4.
"They told her that they were going to rape her, that they were going to f--- her hard, and then they simulated that over her clothes," the father of one of the girls previously told News4.
The girls' parents held a news conference Monday night to draw attention to what they claim is ongoing mishandling of the incident by school officials and Charles County Public Schools.
"Parents at the school were not communicated with at all. We were told repeatedly that this was a private incident," said Seth Heisserman, the father of one of the girls involved.
He said it wasn't until the media reported the incident that the school system notified parents.
"Here we stand ... 28 days after our girls were victimized and not once has anybody from the school or anybody for Charles County Public Schools offered any one of our daughters counseling or any kind of help in that regard. I just find that disgusting," Heisserman said.
"None of these girls are back in school because they are afraid to be in school. And what has been the school's response to that? Talk of truancy to the parents," said Kurt Wolfgang, attorney for the parents.
Heisserman said he has withdrawn all three of his children from Charles County Public Schools and is currently homeschooling them.
"At every opportunity to do what's right, they have failed our children," he said.
Parents called for Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Hill and school officials at Gale-Bailey Elementary School to step down.
"The principal and vice principal need to go. They have lost the trust of the parents of this school and there's no way they can get it back," parent Tim Perrier said.
"I trusted my child with you guys and you failed me. You failed her. You failed all of us," said Senika Hart Butler, the mother of another girl involved.
Butler said her daughter received a death threat at school after the incident. One boy allegedly told her, "You got my friends in trouble and I'm going to beat you and I'm going to have your family killed."
Parents said police are also investigating that threat, but claim that school officials did not inform the school resource officer about the threat until days later.
Charles County Public Schools released a statement Monday night, rebuking the parents' claims.
"Incidents involving children preclude us from providing specific details, and we will always err on the side of protecting our students when faced with decisions about how much detail to share, even when sharing these details would support our actions," the statement read in part.
"Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) strongly disagrees with the statements made by parents of the girls during a press conference this evening. Their characterization of conversations and meetings with school system personnel did not include all pertinent facts. We have addressed their concerns and will continue to take appropriate action based on the facts."
The school system previously said the incident on the playground occurred as the children were playing tag. The district said one of the boys said sexually inappropriate things and made sexually inappropriate motions toward girls.
One boy wrapped his arms around a girl, the district said.
The girls reported the behavior to a teacher, and the boys and girls made written statements about it, the school system said. A school resource officer and school staff started an investigation Oct. 30.
The principal disciplined the students to the level of their involvement per the school system’s code of student conduct, the school system said.
The 10-year-old is not in custody, according to the sheriff’s office.
The parents of the three girls are filing a civil suit against the school system, saying they hope to create change that will prevent something like this happening again.