KATY, Texas – Parents said school staff at a charter school in Katy sexually and physically assaulted their son, who has autism.
Parents of the alleged victim say while their son does have autism, he’s able to verbalize and act out concerns, which doctors say show signs of serious trauma suffered at The International Leadership of Texas Charter School in Katy. School officials said student safety is priority number one and they’re investigating, but so far the allegations are unfounded.
“We have a problem. We have a serious problem,” said Angela Weathers.
Angela’s husband Ray Weathers works as a coach at the school. The parents say they thought the school would be a perfect fit for their 6-year-old son Caleb, who has autism.
“I first heard great things coming home, then shortly thereafter, a series of misfortunate events started to unfold, starting with him coming home with his underwear missing,” Angela said.
The parents say even though their son is able to use the restroom on his own, they believe a teacher intervened and also touched him inappropriately back on Aug. 26.
“He’s not using the bathroom now at school because he is terrified all of a sudden in his classroom, remember, his underwear is missing,” Ray said.
The Weathers said they also noticed signs of physical abuse.
“He said, ‘My teacher hit me in the stomach,’ pointed to the stomach where he’s been talking about for a week that he was bothered by. So they had to hit him multiple times in the same area and then he also said the face,” Ray said.
Their lawyer Nuru Witherspoon, who says he’s in the process of filing a federal lawsuit against the school, provided KPRC 2 what he says is a doctor’s observation stating in part that Caleb expressed discomfort when hearing a certain teacher’s name, and the belief that incidents experienced at school have left an impression that could have lasting emotional impacts.
The International Leadership of Texas released the following statement:
“International Leadership of Texas is aware of a threat of a lawsuit from an alleged incident involving an ILTexas Katy K-8 student. Upon notification of the alleged physical assault, ILTexas immediately notified the Harris County Sheriff’s Department and Child Protective Services of the complaint. It wasn’t until after CPS was notified that ILTexas became aware of any allegation that there was any suggestion of improper sexual contact. We are continuing to proceed through a full internal investigation. At this time, we have found no evidence to support the allegation of sexual abuse. It is also our understanding that the Sheriff’s Office and Child Protective Services have not found any evidence to substantiate the allegations.
At ILTexas, the safety of our students is– and will always be – our number one priority.”
Witherspoon says he and his clients disagree, and the school only took partial action after they did.
“To do a full investigation, you have to put the child with a professional who can communicate with the child, now they didn’t do that sir, and that is the problem,” Witherspoon said.
The Weathers say they have pulled Caleb out of the school, and at the doctor’s recommendation are getting him therapy. Like the school, they say they also reported the allegations to the Harris County Sheriff’s office which is investigating. At this time no charges are been filed.