Geibel Catholic

Rachel Basinger

Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School

A student at Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School alleged in a federal lawsuit that another student tried to sexually assault her while they were performing community service work at the Connellsville school.

The seven-count suit contended the female student was forcibly kissed and forced into a school bathroom by a male student last June. The boy pulled his pants down and tried to pull her pants down, the suit alleged.

When the girl’s cellphone fell out of her pocket, it startled the boy and she was able to escape, attorney Joel Sansone wrote in the suit, filed Friday.

The girl told her parents, who met with the school’s principal, Patricia Nickler, that night, Sansone said. The next day, Nickler allegedly told the girl her complaint would be “closed and not revisited” if she didn’t meet with the boy and his parents.

During that meeting, Sansone contended, the boy denied anything had happened, and his father called the girl a “liar.” The boy, according to the suit, was never disciplined.

The filing alleged Nickler did not immediately report the allegations to any of the required agencies, and stated police were not contacted for five days.

Jerry Zufelt, a spokesman for the Diocese of Greensburg, said the proper notifications were made after the female student came to school officials.

“Both the Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania ChildLine were notified about the allegations in June by Geibel’s administration, who will cooperate fully with any inquiries by investigators,” Zufelt said.

The girl, still a student, has continued to see the boy who allegedly assaulted her at school, and has been “the target of pervasive harassment by (him) and other male students,” the suit stated. In November, the suit alleged, the boy grabbed the girl’s buttocks in school.

Sansone also alleged that this is not the first time the boy assaulted someone at the school. The suit alleged the school knows of three other “assaults of a sexual nature” involving the boy that occurred on Geibel’s property.

The filing indicated that the female student has told school officials she does not feel safe, but alleged they have not done anything to alleviate her concerns. The girl has missed multiple days of school because of what occurred, the suit alleged.

“The sexually hostile environment and harassment by (the alleged assailant) and other male students on defendant Geibel’s property has adversely impacted the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s educational experience and caused her extreme emotional distress,” Sansone wrote.

The filing names as defendants the school, Nickler, the boy who allegedly attempted to assault the girl and a second male student. Sansone alleged the second male student was present in June, knew what was going to occur and intentionally left the female student alone with the boy who allegedly tried to assault her.

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