Girls say Oregon school did not protect them from 'sextortion'

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by Erica Heartquist, KGW Staff

KREM.com

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 7:53 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 8:00 AM

CLATSKANIE, Ore. -- Three teens have taken action for what they call a pattern of bullying after a case of "sexting" got so out of hand, it almost drove a girl to suicide.

They said their principal and school district let it happen.

Time and time again the three girls said they asked for help. They were told to "suck it up" and "boys will be boys." It got so bad, they moved, they said.

Background: Federal suit filed against Clatskanie School District in 'sextortion' case

"I was so surprised. I had no idea that's how school was," said 15-year-old Josi Harrison.

Harrison and Laura Lefebvre are now weighing in on how different school life is now that they're no longer attending school at Clatskanie Middle-High School.

"I think that the boys who are involved in athletics run that school. I think everyone's afraid of the force of the boys," said Harrison.

The two girls and a third who ask to not be identified said the trouble began three years ago when they were just 12 and 13 years old.

At the time, their boyfriend and ex-boyfriends pressured the girls to send them naked pictures of themselves, they said.

"He was telling me 'We'll get back together. It's how you can prove to me you really like me," said Lefebvre.

They did, and afterward they started getting harassed and threatened. Each boy demanded more pictures.

"He had told me that they had photos of me and I wasn't sure how or why but they also did have access to the girl's locker room," said Harrison.

The girls and their parents said despite repeatedly asking the school for help, no one took action. So, they're suing the school and the principal, Jefferey Baughman who is now on leave.

"I called the principal and I said, enough is enough. This has got to stop. You have to protect her and he said to me that it had to be handled very delicately because he didn't want the bullying and the harassment to get worse than what she deserved," said Jennifer Lefebvre. "I said 'she doesn't deserve this at all. No child deserves this.' And we knew then that it was lost cause. A few days later, Laura attempted suicide and she said like she felt like the people who are supposed to protect her and keep her safe either couldn't or wouldn't."

"I just removed her from school because I felt that there was no way that they could protect my child. I'd really want to get to the bottom of 'why' this type of behavior is allowed," said Annie Harrison, Josie's mother.

We went by Baughman's house Thursday, he told us to shut off our cameras and call his lawyers. KGW did call his lawyers who didn't immediately call us back.

"I don't want any girl to ever have to feel the way that I felt for three years," said Lefebvre.

One boy initially faced attempted rape charges in an initial lawsuit but later admitted to lesser charges of harassment and public indecency.

Clatskanie superintendent Lloyd Hartley did not immediately return a message.

The district has repeatedly declined to comment on the allegations.

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