Paterson woman was sexually abused by school security guard in auditorium, lawsuit says
PATERSON — A woman has filed a lawsuit against the Paterson Board of Education, saying a security guard at Rosa Parks High School repeatedly forced her to have sex with him in the auditorium when she was a student nine years ago. The woman, Amber Kitchings, claimed in her lawsuit that she reported the incident to a teacher, but that her complaint was ignored. Kitchings was between the ages of 15 and 17 at the time of the abuse, according to the lawsuit, which was filed last week.
Kitchings alleged in her lawsuit that the security guard continued to have sex with her in the school’s auditorium her after her complaint to a teacher went unheeded. The accused security guard, Rashawn McGuire, was arrested in March 2013, convicted of fourth degree criminal sexual contact in 2016 and served 210 days in jail, according to state court records. McGuire also was placed on five years’ probation and fined.
Kitchings’ lawyer, John Baldante, said his client was the “primary victim” in the criminal case that resulted in McGuire’s conviction. He said Kitchings could have filed the lawsuit anonymously, by simply using her initials, but opted not to do that. “She believes that by using her name, she will help other victims step forward,” Baldante said.
City Hall: Video shows Paterson councilman Michael Jackson in fight with auto shop owner Public safety: With £3.77M federal grant, Paterson police can expand ranks Neither McGuire nor the lawyer who represented him in the criminal case five years ago could be reached for comment.
The school district declined to comment because of the pending litigation. Kitchings, who is now 26, claimed the abuse happened during the 2012-13 school year. She said McGuire told her that she should go to the auditorium because her dance teacher wanted to speak with her.
But when she arrived at the auditorium the teacher was not there and the security guard pulled down his pants and forced her to have sex, the lawsuit said.
She said in the lawsuit that after unsuccessfully attempting to refuse his advances on four occasions, she submitted after that because her attempt to report the problem was ignored.
Eventually, one of her friends sent an anonymous note to a school administrator about the abuse and the administrator then convened a student assembly and asked whoever was involved to come to her office, the lawsuit said. Kitchings went to see the administrator and the criminal investigation that led to McGuire’s conviction then took place, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit did not say exactly when McGuire stopped working as a security guard.
It also did not say whether he was one of the security officers who worked on the district payroll or was an employee of the private security firm that the district also used. Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Paterson NJ: Woman alleges sexual abuse by school security guard