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School system acquitted in handling of sex-assault claim

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A civil jury has acquitted Virginia’s largest school system of wrongdoing in its handling of a sex-assault complaint made by a student on a band trip.

The student said in a lawsuit that administrators at Oakton High School acted with callous indifference when she claimed another student forced her to touch his genitals while on a 2017 bus trip to Indianapolis.

The two-week federal trial included evidence that school officials joked about the incident in texts and emails.

The school system’s lawyers argued that no assault took place. They produced evidence the girl was ambivalent about participating in the conduct and became upset only after learning the male student had a girlfriend.

The lawsuit is one of four since 2018 accusing Fairfax County Public Schools of botching sex-harassment allegations.

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