‘This is bigger than me’: Former CMS student who reported rape pushes for change

CHARLOTTE — There are calls for change at Myers Park High School after two former students sued, claiming they were sexually assaulted near the school and officials never did anything.

More than 100 students, parents and friends protested on Tuesday outside of the school, where they say the administration has repeatedly covered up rapes and sexual assaults.

Eyewitness News anchor Genevieve Curtis spoke with one of the accusers who settled her lawsuit with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She said she’s heard from other students with similar stories and she wants to take action.

“When I was 15, I was raped in the woods by high school campus and the school covered it up,” Nikki Wombwell said.

Until recently, Wombwell was known as “Jill Roe” in a federal lawsuit she filed against CMS. Now the Myers Park graduate wants everyone to know her name and that she is a survivor.

“I just decided that I wanted to be able to be a player in my own story,” Wombwell said. “I wanted to be able to tell my own side of what was happening.”

Wombwell said the district recently paid $50,000 to settle the lawsuit. The lawsuit claimed that after she was attacked by another student in 2014, the school never contacted the police or any other authority.

The lawsuit also claims the school discouraged her from filing a formal report and says the principal told Wombwell if the student who attacked her was found innocent, she would be in trouble for having sex on campus.

Wombwell said the male student was never disciplined.

“You go through this horrible thing and then, you go to the people you trust, who are supposed to protect you, and you end up feeling worse than when you came in,” she said.

(WATCH BELOW: Former Myers Park High School student who reported rape pushes for change)

Since going public and sharing her story on social media, Wombwell said she’s been contacted by other current and former students at Myers Park.

“Since coming out, I’ve heard dozens of other students with stories that are eerily similar to my own,” Wombwell said.

A lawsuit filed by another Myers Park student -- known as Jane Doe -- says she was assaulted in the woods by another student in 2015 and nothing was done. That lawsuit is still pending.

Now, current students are calling for change.

Organizers of Tuesday’s protest told Channel 9 at least seven more students at Myers Park have come forward with their own stories.

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They said despite mandatory reporting under federal law and Title IX, their experiences were not documented, not reported and they were never given the help they sought.

“This is bigger than me, this is a big issue,” Wombell said.

Wombwell started a petition online, with more than 50,000 signatures, calling for better training, policies and procedures, education for students and accountability for the people she says failed her.

“What happened to me is hopefully going to help me have a voice to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else and to make sure the next 15-year-old girl in my position is believed and listened to and that the school does their job, like they didn’t for me,” Wombwell said.

Students are calling for an investigation into Myers Park Principal Mark Bosco and the school’s administration.

Channel 9 reached out to CMS and they said they were working on getting us a statement. The district did answer the following questions:

How does the school/district plan to address issues regarding sexual assault reporting and Title IX?

All CMS schools have a designated Title IX liaison who is responsible for investigating claims of sexual misconduct or discrimination at school, and students are also encouraged to report any allegations to any administrator on campus. Training on sexual harassment occurs annually and covers how to identify and report sexual assault or misconduct.

What policies or procedures are being implemented to assure assaults are reported properly?

The CMS Code of Student Conduct outlines the procedure for how to report sexual harassment and also contains Title IX incident report forms that can be submitted anonymously. Schools continue to inform students and train staff and administrators annually on how to report assaults and claims of misconduct.

Will there be district wide training?

CMS school-based staff have annual mandatory training through the CMS Title IX department on how to listen and respond to concerns. Administrators receive intensive training on investigating and reporting complaints and learn how to support students who share these complaints.

Will there be an investigation of Myers Park high school administration, specifically Principal Bosco?

We do not respond to inquiries or issues involving personnel.

There are allegations from multiple students that Principal Bosco consistently covered up sexual assaults. Has this ever been investigated and what were the findings? Was there any disciplinary action taken?

We do not respond to inquiries or issues involving personnel.

(WATCH BELOW: Lawsuit filed in alleged Myers Park High School rape)