Brentwood Academy headmaster denies school failed to respond to rape report
The headmaster of an elite private Christian school at the center of a lawsuit, which alleges four students repeatedly sexually assaulted a 12-year-old student, is firing back at the accusations, calling some untrue.
Brentwood Academy headmaster Curt Masters in his statement Thursday morning did not refute the specific claims, saying they would be addressed in a formal legal reply filed in the near future.
But he denied anyone at the school ever heard an "allegation of rape" in 2015. The attacks were alleged in a $30 million lawsuit filed in Williamson County last week by a student and his mother.
"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," Masters said in the statement, emailed by a school representative Thursday morning.
"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. Certain allegations in the lawsuit and highlighted in the media are not factual, will be disputed, and our defense will be vigorous."
At least four, eighth-grade students in five separate attacks assaulted and participated in the rape of the 12-year-old, sixth-grade student during 2014-15 school year, according to the lawsuit.
The first attack happened at an after school football game party in fall 2014, the lawsuit states. Then in January and February of 2015, four male students and others “conspired to engage in male on male sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or rape upon John Doe in the locker room not supervised by an adult," according to the suit.
The lawsuit accuses Masters of telling the 12-year-old boy to "turn the other cheek" and "everything in God's kingdom happens for a reason" after learning of the accusations.
In his statement, Masters said that "certain statements attributed to me are simply not true." He did not specify which statements.
Master's' statement also includes a list of assertions that he says the community should believe. Those include:
- Academy staff responded immediately and cooperated with authorities when "we became aware of concerns." The statement doesn't clarify the specific nature of those concerns.
- Staff and faculty are trained about mandatory reporting, and report issues immediately.
- Maintaining the confidentiality of current and former students.
Masters and the school declined to provide any information in response to a Tennessean request for dates or documents showing when the school learned of the alleged attacks and if those were reported to authorities.
"As you can imagine, since all of those questions pertain to specific details in the case, we are unable to comment at this moment. Hopefully, with legal counsel’s direction, we will be able to answer all of those questions in weeks to come," said Susan Shafer, director of communications for the academy.
Roland Mumford, attorney for the boy and his mother, did not immediately respond to questions about Masters' statement.
This is a developing story.