Sanpete County Mother Sues School District Over Alleged Sexual Assault

Oct 18, 2018, 7:35 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2018, 12:50 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Sanpete County woman has filed suit with her son’s school district and several administrators, saying an alleged sexual assault and the district’s response to it violated the boy’s civil rights.

The boy, identified as Greg, and his mother, Misty Cox, said they wanted to take a public stand to empower others.

The lawsuit named the South Sanpete School District, superintendent Kent Larsen, Gunnison Valley High School principal Trevor Powell, vice-principal Rhett Jackson, and athletic director Jared Anderson.

The federal lawsuit stemmed from an incident the family said happened on September 17.

They said Greg was on the Gunnison Valley High School football team. Before practice started, two teammates allegedly pinned him to the ground while another sexually assaulted him. They said about 15 other students witnessed the incident.

“It was a constitutional violation of epic proportions,” said attorney Robert Sykes during a news conference Thursday.

According to the lawsuit, Greg’s parents said they discussed what happened with the superintendent. They said he downplayed the incident.

“The superintendent basically said, and I think he used these actual words, ‘Boys will be boys.’ (He was) just dismissive of the fact that there had been a sexual assault on a 14-year-old,” Sykes said.

They said the alleged attackers were suspended from school for three days, but allowed to go to football practice with Greg. They said several students at the high school began to harass Greg daily, calling him a “snitch,” and verbally harassing him about the incident.

Since the reported incident, Sykes said at least 15 other students have come forward with similar accounts of sexual assault by the same three students. Sykes said the incidents dated back two years, and that school administrators were aware of those incidents, but did nothing to stop them.

“This school district and these defendants that I’ve listed in the complaint had knowledge, prior knowledge of these very students – students 1, 2 and 3 – committing prior sexual assaults and condoned it, did nothing, or took inadequate action,” Sykes said.

“If someone else, like the school, would have done something, then my son wouldn’t have been assaulted,” Cox, said.

As a result of a police investigation, one teen faced several charges of object rape and sexual abuse. The Sanpete County Attorney told KSL earlier in October that the September 17 incident led investigators to discover many other incidents.

Greg was still a student at Gunnison Valley High School and remained on the football team. He said he chose to report what happened and talk to journalists openly about it to protect others.

“If I didn’t say anything, it could happen to someone else and then they might not do something and it could happen to more people, and I don’t want that,” he said.

Cox said she believes other people may be afraid to speak up, and hoped to empower them by taking the lead.

“I will be whatever strength we both need, because I know it’s not just for my son. It’s for who knows how many other children need it, too,” she said. “That’s my motivation to be in front of cameras, because there’s so many victims that are afraid. For me, I have been afraid and I’m not afraid anymore. I’m willing to stand up front and stand strong for me and for anyone else that’s afraid. I am strong enough for anyone else that’s afraid,”

KSL reached out to the South Sanpete School District. The employee who answered the phone said Larsen was out for the day and there likely would not be any comment Thursday.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Andrew Adams

Artist hopes to put wildlife murals in every county in Utah

One artist is bringing the spirit of the Utah outdoors to cities with wildlife murals.

53 minutes ago

Jeremy Albert Best is accused of killing his pregnant wife and fleeing with their infant child, wh...

Rebecca Boone

Mental evaluation ordered for Idaho man charged with murder in shooting death of his pregnant wife

An Idaho man accused of killing his pregnant wife and fleeing with their infant child who was later found dead will be given a mental health evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial, a magistrate judge said Monday.

5 hours ago

Americans spend millions of dollars on digital entertainment: movies, music, audiobooks, and e-book...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

What happens to your purchased digital movies, music and e-books when you die?

Americans spend millions of dollars on digital entertainment: movies, music, audiobooks, and e-books. But is any of it really ours to keep? It's a question a Hooper widow is tackling after losing access to her e-books, so she decided to Get Gephardt.

12 hours ago

The Riverdale Road Denny's is organizing community support for an employee who was hit and critical...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Denny’s restaurant stepping up to help employee injured after being struck by vehicle

The Riverdale Road Denny's is organizing community support for an employee who was hit and critically injured while walking in a crosswalk with her young brother.

13 hours ago

emergency lights...

Mark Jones

Man killed in auto-pedestrian collision in North Ogden

A 72-year-old man was killed Monday night in an auto-pedestrian collision.

13 hours ago

(FILE) Logan police arrested a man Monday afternoon following a short pursuit in a stolen vehicle....

Mark Jones

Logan police arrest man following a short pursuit in stolen vehicle

Logan police say a 35-year-old man is in custody following a short pursuit Monday afternoon.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Sanpete County Mother Sues School District Over Alleged Sexual Assault