A family has sued Brentwood Academy for $30 million, alleging failure to act after the repeated rape and sexual assault of a 12-year-old student.
The lawsuit listed the defendants as Brentwood Academy, Inc.; Brentwood Academy; Curtis G. Masters, headmaster of Brentwood Academy; Nancy Brasher, director of the middle school; Buddy Alexander, administrator and middle school athletic director; Lyle Husband, assistant basketball coach and English teacher; and Mike Vazquez, head sixth grade basketball coach and son-in-law of Masters.
A mother filed the lawsuit on behalf of her son. It stated that the victim, her son, was 11 and 12 years old when he was in the sixth grade during the 2014-2015 school year.
The family is represented by Hendersonville attorney Roland Mumford.
Click here to read the full lawsuit. (WARNING: Contains graphic content.)
During that same year, according to the lawsuit, three or four male students who were in the eighth grade, ages 14 and 15 years old, allegedly committed the sexual assault acts.
The lawsuit said on four separate dates in January and February of 2015, those three or four students allegedly sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, and raped the victim while in a locker room. They were reportedly not supervised by an adult.
Other male students allegedly witnessed the acts, according to the lawsuit. During these acts, according to the lawsuit, the students allegedly held the front and rear doors to the locker room closed and alternated holding and restraining the victim. The students allegedly forcefully raped the victim by penetrating his mouth and buttocks without consent.
Also, during an after high school football game party, the lawsuit stated one or two of the same students reportedly “restrained [the victim] and placed their buttocks on his face and their scrotums on and/or in his mouth.”
The lawsuit said further incidents allegedly occurred. To read more in the full lawsuit, click here.
The mother claimed in the lawsuit that numerous people did not act when they learned about what was allegedly taking place.
The lawsuit stated ten counts, including negligence, negligent supervision and/or retention, negligent infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, inducement to breach of contract, inducement to breach an express contract of confidentiality, inducement to breach an implied contract of confidentiality, breach of contract, failure to comply with Tennessee code/mandatory child abuse reports, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The damages stated in the lawsuit included:
- Constructive denial of education and educational and/or athletic extracurricular opportunities to plaintiffs
- General damages for past, present, and/or future pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, anxiety, public humiliation, emotional distress, and embarrassment; such other emotional harm
- Irreparable harm
- Loss of personal reputation
- Loss of other fringe benefits
- Physical pain, past and future
- Inability to enjoy the normal pleasures of life, past and future
- Such other emotion harm includes fright, shame, and mortification from the indignity and disgrace, consequent upon such conduct upon a minor child
- Medical expenses, past and future
Officials with Brentwood Academy released the following statement on Wednesday:
“Our highest priority is the protection and safety of our students. We take any allegation involving our students very seriously. We responded immediately and fully cooperated with authorities when we became aware of concerns in 2015. It is our policy and obligation to maintain confidentiality in any legal matter. Out of respect for all parties involved, and based on the advice of our legal counsel, we are unable to discuss details at this time.”
On Thursday, headmaster Masters released the following information:
"In regard to published reports about the pending allegations against Brentwood Academy:
At no point before or during the investigation in 2015 did I (or anyone on our staff to my knowledge) hear any allegation of rape. When we heard of inappropriate activity, we responded immediately and thoroughly, cooperated fully with the authorities, and took appropriate disciplinary action based on what we knew. Certain allegations in the lawsuit and highlighted in the media are not factual, will be disputed, and our defense will be vigorous. Certain statements attributed to me are simply not true. Because of our policy of not discussing details of a lawsuit, I cannot elaborate on additional details.
I also want to emphasize that the information reported in the media has been obtained from the lawsuit itself that was filed in the county clerk’s office. The document does not, however, include Brentwood Academy’s response to each allegation. We will have the opportunity to address each individual accusation in our formal legal reply which will be filed in the near future.
We take any allegations involving our students’ safety very seriously. In review, you can be certain of these facts:
- That we responded immediately and cooperated fully with investigations by the authorities once we became aware of concerns in 2015
- That in 2015 and now, we do not tolerate harassment, bullying and any assault by one student against another
- Our faculty and staff are trained about mandatory reporting, and comply with the law
- When we are made aware of a matter that needs to be reported, we do so without delay
- If we hear of inappropriate behavior, we actively investigate, intervene and if necessary, discipline our students, and this includes expulsion
- We work actively to create a culture of respect among our students in a variety of ways
- We will respect the confidentiality and privacy of our current and former students."
A statement was also released on Wednesday from the attorney of the family that filed the lawsuit:
“We want to protect the privacy of the family and would like to respond to inquiry with a few comments. This is a sad situation that could have been prevented. The complaint speaks for itself.
These allegations are still under investigation by the Brentwood Police Department and the District Attorney's office.
We hope this will help protect children in private school where Title IX does not apply and citizens will become more aware of Tennessee's Mandatory Report Statute that requires everyone to report child abuse.”