A Dallas family says Uplift Education kept a known sexual predator on staff as a teacher for more than a year after learning he raped their teenage daughter.
The rape, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the parents and alleged victim (all identified by pseudonyms), happened on the night of Uplift Hampton Prep's homecoming game in November 2011.
Carter, who is currently charged with sexual assault, had been involved in "other deviant and felonious sexual relationships with other students at Hampton Prep" when he set his sights on the girl. He began a "careful and methodical process of grooming," giving her an inordinate amount of attention in school and calling her and texting her frequently, often after hours, putting increasing pressure on her to have sex.
When the girl, minor and a high school junior, finally consented, news of the relationship spread quickly through the school. It didn't take long for the rumors to reach the ears of Corey Harris, then serving as Hampton Prep's director.
Uplift and Harris' investigation into the incident was "incomplete, incompetent, and wholly inadequate," the suit says, resulting in no disciplinary action against Carter and no help or counseling for the student. Nothing was done to keep Carter from interacting with his alleged victim or any of her classmates.
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It wasn't until April 2013, just before Carter was arrested by Dallas police, that Uplift took any serious action, announcing publicly that an unnamed teacher had been placed on administrative leave due to sexual assault allegations.
Uplift Education spokesman Michael Terry said the charter operator has not finished reviewing the suit and declined to offer an official comment. He did say that Carter is no longer employed by Uplift and hasn't been during the current school year.
Update at 3:07 p.m.: In a prepared statement, Uplift CEO Yasmin Bhatia said the student's case was handled properly. "An external review of the situation showed our campus and network teams did everything they should have done. Our hearts go out to our former student and her family. We are going to leave this matter in the hands of the court."
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.