BHAS Sued Over Student’s Sexual Assault

Benton Harbor Area Schools, Superintendent Shelly Walker, and former high school principal Rodger Triplett are being sued in federal court by the family of an autistic teenager over the girl’s sexual assault by a former star football player. 18-year-old Timothy Bell, Jr. is serving a year in the Berrien County Jail for raping the girl, who was 14 at the time, in 2015 just after the Tigers’ football season concluded. He recorded the assaults on his cell phone, and shared the video with friends. Bell entered a guilty plea in July to the crime. The girl’s family filed the suit in federal court in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, alleging the school district protected Bell and created a hostile environment for the victim. In the lawsuit, they say she was forced to face her attacker daily and was taunted for months.