Pixel Images / DreamstimeSeneca Valley School
District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is facing a lawsuit from a former
male student who was forced out of school—and investigated for sexual
assault—due to a series of false accusations made by female students.
girls—dubbed "mean girls" in the lawsuit,
a reference to the 2004 Lindsay Lohan film—admitted on tape that they
made up the assault story. One said, "I just don't like him" and "[I]
would do anything to get him expelled," according to The
false allegations were life-derailing for the accused, who is referred
to as "T.F." in the lawsuit. On October 3, 2017, one of the girls told
other students that T.F. had sexually assaulted her at a pool; a
Seneca Valley guidance counselor overheard the accusation, and
reported it to Childline, the state's child abuse prevention agency,
as required by law. T.F. was swiftly charged with indecent assault and
harassment, and received six months of probation as part of a plea
later, in March of 2018, T.F. was again falsely
accused, according to the lawsuit. Another girl invited him over to a
house party; a few days later, she told the school guidance counselor
that T.F. had broken into her home and sexually assaulted her. The
lawsuit claims she was coached by T.F.'s first accuser. As a result of
this accusation, T.F. was charged with assault and criminal
trespassing. He was removed from school in leg and wrist shackles, and
spent 9 days in juvenile detention.
lawsuit elaborates on a number of other indignities T.F. suffered:
was released on house arrest on April 18, 2018, with an ankle
monitor, and specific instructions from [Juvenile Probation Officer]
Michael Trego that he could not tell people about the ankle device,
and he could not wear shorts or other clothing that revealed the
ankle device, even though it was during some of the hottest days of
summer. He was not permitted to have any visitors, phone, or
internet access, and could not leave the house except for therapy,
which he requires to deal with the psychological trauma he suffered,
and to attend church. After 28 days, he was allowed outside the
house only to mow his lawn, which he had to do in long pants
regardless of the temperature. He was unable to play during most of
the high school baseball season and was told by the Athletic
Director that she was not sure he could play baseball because every
time he was wearing a Seneca Valley jersey, he was representing the
school. T.F. was unable to play baseball or work at his summer jobs
for part of the summer.
the end of the summer, the conspiracy against T.F. was unmasked: other
students came forward with Snapchat messages that contradicted the
claims of the "mean girls," who eventually admitted to lying. All
charges against T.F. were dropped.
T.F.'s family is understandably distraught that the girls have
suffered no consequences: neither the police nor the school district
have taken any action against them, according to the lawsuit. And so
the family is pursuing legal action against the girls' parents, the
school district, and the district attorney.
attorney, Craig Fishman, did not respond to a request for comment, but
he told Penn
Live that his client "was basically
being tortured in school by the other students and investigators, but
the administration was only focused on protecting the girls who were
a statement, a spokesperson for the school district said that privacy
laws prevented officials from commenting on specific details of the
lawsuit, but that they believe it is "without merit."
have followed all applicable laws, and we will vigorously defend
ourselves throughout the process," the statement read.
Monday, School Board President Jim Nickel said that "there is quite a
bit of misinformation and misperception out there."
because something is contained in a lawsuit complaint does not mean
that it's fact," he said.
the school's perspective, it had no choice but to involve Childline
when it learned about a possible sexual assault. And school officials
can't punish any of the female students for their bad behavior outside
are valid points, and it may very well be that the school did
everything it was required to do. I'm making note of this case because
of the national conversation we seem to be having about the
existence of false sexual assault accusations in
the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. False accusations may not be
common, but they do happen. To pretend otherwise, as fourth-wave
feminism's believe-all-victims mantra demands, is to ignore a large
number of cases involving
young people—often young
black men—wrongly accused of sexual misconduct.