PERRYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri girl who reported being raped by her boyfriend told a detective that her high school principal threatened them with in-school suspension to “get them to stop saying things about each other,” according to police.
Richard Thomas, 37, of Jackson, was charged Monday with a misdemeanor count of failure to report abuse, neglect or death of a child younger than 18, The Southeast Missourian reported. School administrators are required by law to report suspicions of child abuse.
Thomas didn’t return a phone message from The Associated Press on Wednesday, and no attorney is listed for him in online court records. He has been on paid administrative leave from the Perry County School District since September. The school board voted in December not to retain him as principal when his contract expires this summer.
A police detective wrote in a probable cause statement that the girl told police on Aug. 30 that she had been raped by her boyfriend, also a student. The girl said she told Thomas about the alleged assault the previous week, and that in two separate discussions told Thomas the alleged perpetrator “did something to me I didn’t want to happen,” according to the detective’s statement.
The girl said after going to police, she was summoned on Sept. 8 to an empty classroom. She said she was told to sit at one desk while Thomas and the alleged perpetrator sat facing her, the detective reported. The girl said Thomas asked her “question after question but interrupted her when she tried to answer and would not let her talk.”
The girl said Thomas told her if she was placed in in-school suspension, “she would no longer have a boyfriend because she would not be able to see him,” the detective wrote.
The male student told police that Thomas advised him and the girl to “stop with all the rape talk and just move on,” the probable cause statement said. The mother of the alleged perpetrator told police she, too, spoke with Thomas about the allegations against her son the week before the girl contacted police and again on Sept. 8, the detective wrote.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether charges have been filed against the alleged perpetrator. Perry County Prosecutor Thomas Hoeh was in court Wednesday and unavailable for comment, according to his office.