Sexual assault allegations at Southwest Early College Campus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Southwest Early College Campus student said she was repeatedly raped inside the school building over the past month.

Kansas City police are currently investigating the claims as well as Kansas City Public Schools administrators.

According to a police report, two suspects, a 14-year-old male and 13-year-old female, were taken into custody Wednesday. On Friday, charges were announced against both, including one count of rape and one count of sodomy.

The report also states the 14-year-old victim, a student with autism, said she had been raped multiple times over the past month while at SWECC by the male suspect as the female suspect "would stand in the hallway and act as a lookout."

Pastor John Mark Clifton of Wornall Road Baptist Church who works closely with the school said the school’s building design and size worried him because of security reasons.

“Our children need to go to school in a building that is safe where they know they are going to be watched and taken care of and if they can't do that, we have some major issues and we need to ask ourselves, where is all the money going, what's happening, if we basically can't protect them while they are there, how in the world are they going to learn and how are teachers going to teach?” reacted Clifton.

The alleged rapes are said to have taken place on the second floor of the school, out of view of security cameras.

It is the second sexual assault reported at SWECC during the current school year.

In November, a 41 Action News investigation uncovered security concerns about the first reported rape. The investigation discovered a number of security cameras in the building had not been working for weeks, meaning police could not recover a potential piece of evidence.

The problems stemmed from communication issues between the District and the company that installed the $1 million system at SWECC and several other high schools.

In the wake of that sexual assault, Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green said a security task force would take steps to prevent a repeat incident.

On Wednesday, after learning about the incident, Green and his leadership team went to the school and took swift action. KCPS Spokesman Ray Weikal said they quickly noticed security concerns related to the building facilities and how personnel handled them.

"The immediate action we're taking in response to the alleged incident is making sure areas that are supposed to be secure and off-limits to students... stay that way," Weikal told 41 Action News.

Three school employees are on leave pending the completion of an internal investigation, including the principal.

Weikal said Derald Davis, the Senior Director for School Leadership, is temporarily in charge at the school campus.

Green released the following statement Thursday: 

On April 2, 2014 it was reported to us that a student at Southwest Early College Campus was allegedly the victim of a sexual assault. Since learning of these very serious and troubling allegations, I directed the KCPS administration to undertake an investigation and to fully cooperate with the Kansas City Police Department during its investigation. My team and I are deeply concerned about all the children involved in this alleged incident.

As a result of KCPS’s investigation, we have placed a number of personnel from SWECC on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation. There will be additional personnel placed on administrative leave if the investigation uncovers additional facts that warrant their removal.  Once the investigation is complete, a final decision will be made about whether they will continue as employees of KCPS or will be dismissed. I have directed my team to take any and all steps necessary to insure the safety of our students and our staff at SWECC.

I have also directed the Facilities Department to make any modifications that they believe are necessary to prevent any further incidents of this sort. We are committed to ensuring that our buildings are safe and secure for our children and staff.

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