What in the world would possess a bunch of kindergartners to trap a 5-year-old classmate in a bathroom, hold him down and sexually assault him? These are the questions being asked by a Queens woman after her child was allegedly accosted and abused at school.
The mother of a 5-year-old Queens boy claims her son was jumped inside his elementary school and sexually assaulted by four classmates – all of them kindergartners.
Mom Yenny Valero said the shocking attack occurred in the school’s bathroom just weeks before the end of the school year.
“I’m very sad and disappointed,” Valero told the Daily News. “You never expect this to happen to your child, especially in school. You expect them to go to school and come back safe.”
The Astoria resident filed a notice of claim on Aug. 27 – the first step in suing the city – alleging her son was assaulted, sexually abused and raped.
The News is withholding the name of the boy and his school to protect his identity.
Valero said their ordeal began when her son went to the bathroom on June 11.
Four boys, all 6 or 7 years old, held him down, removed his pants and inserted at least one finger into his anus, according to the legal papers.
The young victim, who wears ankle braces because of balance issues, suffered physical injuries and posttraumatic stress disorder, the filing states.
“He’s already started with a psychologist,” said Valero’s lawyer Sean Serpe. “He’s having nightmares, gender identification issues.”
The boy told his mother and her sister about the attack the next day, saying he had been bullied by the students in the past.
“I couldn’t believe this was happening to my son,” said Valero, 30. “I thought I was living a nightmare.”
The mother called 311, which put her in touch with the city’s Administration for Children’s Services and an NYPD special victims squad detective, who investigated the alleged assault.
Because her son only had one week left of class, she kept him out of school, but said she spoke to the assistant principal on June 16 about the incident.
“They said they didn’t know anything about it and that they would investigate,” Valero said.
She said she still has not heard from the city Education Department about the outcome of the investigation, but the four alleged attackers were allowed to attend kindergarten graduation.
“They said they couldn’t suspend anyone because the investigation wasn’t over,” Valero.
Her son didn’t attend the graduation and has since gotten a safety transfer to another school.
According to police sources, detectives investigated the incident, but the criminal case was closed because of the young ages of the students.
The Education Department declined to comment.
Elizabeth Thomas, a spokeswoman for the city Law Department, said her agency has not filed any charges in Queens Family Court against the alleged attackers.
Serpe said he was shocked that none of the boys has been brought to justice.
“Basically, you got four monsters out there who are getting a free pass,” Serpe said. “They haven’t even been required to receive therapy for their actions.”
One expert said she did not want to downplay the seriousness of the incident but said it is unlikely that children so young would realize the the full extent of what they were doing.
“It’s a horrible thing to happen to any child, but it’s not unheard of,” said Dr. Susan Sherkow, a child psychiatric expert and instructor at the child and adolescent division of the New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute.
“Why would they pick on him? They may see him as vulnerable,” Sherkow said. “They may know that they’re doing something humiliating, but typically they wouldn’t really understand it as criminal intent, as sexual assault in the way adults do.”
“Monsters” is a strong word to use for kindergartners. We understand pressing charges and everything, but what happened to parents coming together to sort things out for the sake of the children?