Suspected groping at Pa. school

February 20, 2008 3:47:51 PM PST
Parents say their pre-teen daughters have become the victims of sexual harrassment and worse in a Bucks County school. Angelique Rivera and her husband Andrew say their 11-year-old daughter has been groped repeatedly by a group of boys at Lafayette Elementary.

Monique and Andy Modeste say it's been happening to their daughter, too.

"On the playground, in the hallways, coming out of the bathrooms, the girls are being squeezed," Monique Modeste said.

The parents say it isn't just boys being boys.

"At 11 years old, I never even thought about touching a girl like that. I might have said maybe she's cute, but that's about it. It never entered my mind to do the kinds of thing they are doing today," Andrew Rivera said.

They say a group of about seven sixth grade boys has been targeting six girls for months.

When the parents confronted school principal James Moore, they say he downplayed the situation and a previous complaint filed last year.

"He swept that under the rug and now he's trying to sweep this one under the rug, but I'm not going to let him sweep this one under the rug because it's my little girl," Andy Modeste said.

We tried to contact the principal and school administrators, but they said, "no comment."

The school has separated the boys and girls at recess and they gave two boys in-school suspensions.

The parents have gone to the police.

"We don't want any children thrown in jail, but there is an issue that needs to be addressed," Angelique Rivera said.

The parents say the boys need counseling and education more than anything and the girls need respect.

"I feel like this is the reason why girls are afraid to speak up, because if nothing is being done anyway, why talk about it? Why say anything to anybody if you're not going to be protected?" Monique Modeste said.

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