N.J. School District Faces Lawsuit From 'Innocent Victim' of Classroom Sex Game

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The family of a 15-year-old boy who was allegedly traumatized by his involvement in a game of "Sexual Truth or Dare" in a North Bergen, New Jersey classroom intends to sue the school system. The suit alleges that a female student performed oral sex on the 15-year-old boy while the teacher of the special education class did nothing to stop the game and instead sat at her desk doing paperwork.

The mother of the teen-aged boy insists her son was an innocent victim.

According to investigators, the boy, who's name was being withheld due to his age and at the family's request, was one of 10 grammar school students in a special education class at the high school for children who are older than the average seventh or eighth-graders but are not up to high school performance standards.

According to Fernando Jiminez, the family's lawyer, the boy "was sitting at his desk writing. He was brought into the game as the person upon whom the dare, of a sexual nature, was to be performed. A young lady approached him under his desk, his pants were unzipped and she performed oral sex on him."

The lawyer claimed his 15-year-old client then "pushed her away, excused himself and went for a drink of water."

The 15-year-old, along with the girl involved in the sex act and another male student who allegedly fondled the girl's breasts, were each given 10-day suspensions.

Debbie Noonan, a tenured district teacher, identified as the teacher in charge of the class, has been assigned to clerical duties at an elementary school, according to school board spokesman Paul Swibinski.

He said the school district intends to try to strip Noonan of her tenure, which Swibinski claims, "Is the highest form of disciplinary action the school system can take against (Noonan) under state law." However, even a loss of tenure would not affect Noonan's salary. And even if the school district should choose not to renew Noonan's contract at the end of the current school year, she would still have the ability to sue for wrongful termination, according to school officials.

Neither the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office nor the North Bergen Police Department have filed any criminal charges against the teacher, but Jiminez said he may take his
case to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office for review. The Hudson County Division of Youth and Family Services has launched its own investigation.

Spokespersons for the county prosecutor, the police department and the county DYFS refused to comment on the case.

Jiminez said he will prepare a notice of claim, which is a prelude to a lawsuit, against the North Bergen Board of Education, claiming negligence against one of its employees, the teacher, for failing to properly supervise activities in her classroom.

In reacting to the potential lawsuit, Swibinski said, "It's unfortunate, but the school system did nothing wrong. The teacher was not unqualified or unprepared. She was licensed and she was tenured. It's hard to imagine how the school system could have done anything differently."

Swibinski added that representatives of the school system spoke to the boy's parents and immediately offered him counseling. He said the family refused the offer.

The lawyer for the boy said the family feels it can no longer trust the school system in light of the events. "This is not a vendetta against the teacher or the school," said Jiminez. "We're looking to make the boy whole and psychologically balanced."

Jiminez claimed the boy never had any other social or dating interaction with the girl involved and said the boy's parents will allow him to return to school after the suspension is over. "Obviously, he (the boy) is embarrassed and we're hoping that when he goes back, he'll be able to adapt."