Brentwood Academy defends actions amid rape allegations

(Photo: WKRN)

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BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 obtained a letter that was sent from the headmaster to parents and staff days after Brentwood Academy was named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit surrounding the alleged sexual assault and rape of a sixth grade boy.

The letter from headmaster Curt Masters said in part, “At no point before or during the investigation in 2015 did I (or anyone on our staff to my knowledge) hear any allegation of rape. When we heard of inappropriate activity, we responded immediately and thoroughly, cooperated fully with the authorities and took appropriate disciplinary action based on what we knew.”

The headmaster also included several bullet points reiterating the school’s cooperation with the investigation, writing:

“In review, you can be certain of these facts:

  • That we responded immediately and cooperated fully with investigations by the authorities once we became aware of concerns in 2015
  • That in 2015 and now, we do not tolerate harassment, bullying and any assault by one student against another
  • Our faculty and staff are trained about mandatory reporting, and comply with the law
  • When we are made aware of a matter that needs to be reported, we do so without delay
  • If we hear of inappropriate behavior, we actively investigate, intervene and if necessary, discipline our students, and this includes expulsion
  • We work actively to create a culture of respect among our students in a variety of ways
  • We will respect the confidentiality and privacy of our current and former students.”

“In closing, I want to personally assure you that we took decisive action based on the information we had at the time to bring resolution for all parties involved,” Headmaster Masters wrote.

Click here to read the full letter. 

Also on Thursday, the Department of Children’s Services confirmed to News 2 it opened an investigation into the case but couldn’t comment further on the status of the investigation or its conclusion.

“DCS commenced and investigation into this case that you are asking about in April of 2015,” said Rob Johnson, the DCS spokesperson.

Johnson told News 2 he can’t legally talk about specifics, the outcome of the investigation or whether it has been concluded. However, Johnson explained that it is Tennessee state law that everyone is a mandated reporter.

That means any person with reasonable cause to believe a child is being abused or neglected must, under the law immediately report to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services or local law enforcement.

“When you call, you might not know everything. You might not know the child’s birth date, you might not know all of the things we would like to know and that’s okay,” said Johnson.

DCS says if you are aware of abuse and don’t report it is considered a misdemeanor crime. Click here for more information on how to report abuse.

In the lawsuit filed late last week, the child’s mother, referred to as Jane Doe, claims her son was bullied, harassed, sexually assaulted, and/or raped at least four times during the 2014-15 school year.

According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim, John Doe was in sixth grade at the time, and the accused perpetrators were in eighth grade.

The older students are accused of holding the boys’ locker room doors closed, restraining John Doe, and subjecting him to both sexual abuse and rape at least four times throughout the year. The lawsuit claims one of the students accused in the abuse also bragged about it to the basketball team, and other students witnessed at least one incident.

Jane Doe claims the students were left unsupervised during the alleged incidents. She also says the school failed to comply with mandatory child abuse reporting statues, and is demanding a jury trial in the case. She is seeking damages exceeding $30 million.

The lawsuit also discusses a counselor with Daystar Counseling being involved in conversations with both the family and Brentwood Academy. News 2 called the organization, and the receptionist said he no longer works for the company.