Local News

Woman Upset Over Sheriff's Response To Daughter's Alleged Sex Assault

Posted March 14, 2005

— The classroom is supposed to be a safe place to learn, but one mother said it was the scene of repeated sexual assaults on her disabled daughter. She said she is outraged at how school leaders and law enforcement responded to the incident.

Nancy Gramolini's daughter is autistic and a senior at Person High School in Roxboro. She said this year her daughter was sexually assaulted in class three times by a classmate.

"He was sitting in class with her at a table at the back of the class, assigned seating, and he took his hand and he slid it under the desk and slid it in her pants," she said.

School leaders interviewed both students and call the contact "consensual." They moved Gramolini's daughter out of classes with the boy. However, Gramolini said it was not consensual and moving her daughter is not enough.

"They should have given him in-school suspension, suspension, something," she said. "This is the worst fear of what could happen to my daughter."

The principal at Person High School said he is investigating the incident as well as the Sheriff's Office.

"It's just an investigation and it doesn't look to be that much so far," Person County Sheriff Dennis Oakley said.

Oakley said his investigators cannot drop everything for this case.

"Of course, it's serious, but nobody's hurt. Nobody's been killed," he said.

Gramolini feels part of the problem is that the father of the boy in question heads the 911 department at the Sheriff's Office. The father said he did not even know about the investigation.

"He's all upset. The man had a heart attack. Does he need another one? No," Oakley said.

Gramolini said she just wants justice for her daughter.

"This is an inappropriate behavior and to do this to a disabled child is even worse," she said.

Oakley said a disabilities specialist will interview the girl in late April. Gramolini said she thinks that may be too late.

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