Demonte Rigney was a stand-out football player for Ballard High School. On Tuesday, he was charged with sexually assaulting a female student during class last spring.
“I was afraid, so I did everything he told me,” the alleged victim told KIRO 7 during a recent interview. As an alleged sexual assault victim, KIRO 7 has agreed not to reveal her identity.
According to documents filed in King County Superior Court, Rigney asked to speak with the female student on March 27 during third period at Ballard High. She told KIRO 7 she knew Rigney since grade school and had no reason to fear him.
“We went into the gender-neutral bathroom and he immediately shut the door, stood in front of the door and pulled down his pants” the young woman recalled.
According to court documents, Rigney forced the girl to perform a sex act without her consent.
Days after the alleged incident, attorney Julie Kays filed a Sexual Assault Protection Order that ultimately resulted in Rigney attending a different school until he graduated.
Kays, who is working on this case pro bono, told KIRO 7 that her priority in filing the protection order was “keeping my client safe at school.”
Rigney was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of rape on June 28th and released after midnight on the 30th.
On Tuesday, Seattle Public Schools emailed a statement that read, in part: “In this case, district staff worked closely with the Seattle Police Department to immediately investigate and make sure all involved were supported and made aware of their legal rights.”
However, Kays believes Rigney was more supported by the school and the district than her client.
“What was shocking to me, completely shocking to me, was at the hearing itself a teacher from Ballard High School showed up in support of the suspect, the man who had raped my client in the bathroom,” Kays told KIRO 7.
“No one was there to support my client. It really showed, in my opinion, the school siding with the accused” she said.
Eric Kushman of Legal Counsel for Youth and Children in Seattle represented Rigney when the sexual assault protection order was filed. Kushman did not immediately return KIRO 7’s requests Tuesday seeking comment about the felony charge filed against Rigney.
Below is the written statement sent to KIRO 7 Tuesday by Seattle Public Schools:
“The physical and emotional safety of our students is our highest priority. Seattle Public Schools takes reports of sexual assault very seriously. The district takes proactive steps to keep our students safe and when necessary supports students when sexual assault is reported. In this case, district staff worked closely with the Seattle Police Department to immediately investigate and make sure all involved were supported and made aware of their legal rights.
Our district has an Office of Student Civil rights which investigates allegations of sexual harassment including assault. The OSCR works closely with the SPD’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit and also works closely with schools to ensure protocols are followed.”