Associated Press reports:
The mother of a 14-year-old boy says a cellphone video depicting her son struggling to stand on two broken legs is proof that her son was harmed while attending a Kansas military school and supports claims in a federal lawsuit that the school encouraged a culture of abuse.
The 3:39-minute video clip obtained exclusively by The Associated Press depicts Jesse Mactagone of Auburn, Calif., at St. John’s Military School wobbling and pleading for help as an instructor tries to make him stand. Both of the boy’s legs were broken during the four days in August 2011 that he attended the school, and he was hospitalized before being flown home. He no longer attends the school.
Mactagone and the families of six other students filed a federal lawsuit in March seeking unspecified damages, claiming the school allowed and encouraged abuse. St. John’s has settled nine previous abuse lawsuits filed since 2006. However, law enforcement authorities in Kansas have declined to file assault charges against anyone at the school, citing a lack of evidence.
The Episcopal boarding school, which charges families nearly $30,000 per year for students enrolled in grades 6-12, draws students from across the nation to its military-styled program. In a statement from its public relations firm, the school said it had not seen the video and cannot comment on it.