‘I just want to be believed’: Former Myers Park HS student testifies about alleged sexual assault

The former student, identified as Jane Doe, began testifying around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
A judge has dropped the City of Charlotte and CMPD from a lawsuit brought by a former Myers Park student.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:02 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A former Myers Park High School student spent several hours Thursday recounting what led up to an alleged sexual assault in the woods adjacent to campus that she said has her still reeling from nightmares, taking three different medications and dealing with almost daily suicidal feelings.

It was the third day of the trial, with the issue being whether Myers Park administrators and the school resource officer assigned by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department properly handled the student’s report in 2015.

The former student, identified as Jane Doe, began testifying around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

She began her testimony detailing how she was a shy student at Myers Park High, but hoped getting onto the school’s debate and volleyball teams would help her gain more confidence.

Jane Doe said she sought out the debate team because she was interested in a career as either a lawyer or a criminal profiler. Ultimately, she said she didn’t get on either squad.

As for the alleged assailant, referred to as QW during testimony, Jane Doe said he was in her physical science class and they were paired up on a class project that called for them to design a comic strip and a poem on rocks.

She said QW asked for her number, and she said no, but ultimately changed her mind when he called her pretty after class.

The two sent a number of text messages between Oct. 29 and Nov. 2, 2015. Those text threads were displayed for the jury. In one, QW began an exchange with “hey beautiful.”

An idea to skip class

Eventually, the text messages included several where QW began asking Jane Doe to skip class and go off with him for reasons that were sexual in nature, according to evidence and testimony presented in court on Thursday.

Jane Doe testified that she didn’t feel comfortable skipping class with QW for the reasons he was suggesting.

She told the jury that on the morning of Nov. 3, 2015, QW offered to walk her to her 7:15 a.m. weightlifting class.

“I thought it was going to be an annoying walk to class, even though it didn’t end up being that way,” Jane Doe testified.

On the way there, as they went through the parking lot, she said he grabbed her wrist and pulled her into the woods near the school.

She claimed the school resource officer saw her, but thought she was skipping class.

Jane Doe testified that she was texting her mom and her friends about not knowing where she was and feeling scared. She also told a friend to alert the school resource officer about what had happened.

A text shown to the jury said, “Mom I’m being kidnapped.”

There was a gap between texts, and then three were shown to the jury and said to be to Jane Doe’s friends. They stated, “I was attacked,” “I feel so gross,” “If I have aids ima kill myself.”

After the alleged sexual assault, Jane Doe told the jury she and QW were walking back to campus when the SRO and the assistant principal spotted them, and put them both in the car.

Once back at Myers Park, Jane Doe said she told the SRO she was sexually assaulted. She claimed he was on the phone at the time and she heard the person on the other end ask how does the SRO know she’s not just making it up.

According to Jane Doe’s testimony, the SRO never asked if she was injured, if she wanted to make a statement or if she wanted to request a rape kit. She added that he also said she could face charges if she was lying. While at the hospital, the former student claimed officers never came to take a statement and it was after consulting with an attorney that the family decided to go to the police station themselves.

“We were praying in the waiting room, waiting for the police to come talk to us,” Jane Doe testified.

Speaking with a detective

The jury was played audio of her interview with a CMPD detective, which started at 10:12 p.m. on Nov. 3, more than 12 hours after the alleged assault.

Jane Doe is heard telling the detective she didn’t want her mom to know the specifics of what happened because it was “humiliating and degrading.” The detective could be heard saying, “There are two sides to every story. I know this.”

At one point, there was a long pause during interview, and Jane Doe testified that during the pause, the detective was “staring at me with an angry expression.”

The detective is heard on the tape using an analogy about a small snowflake starting off at the top of the hill, and then getting bigger and bigger as it rolled downhill, “until you lose sight of what really happened.”

According to the detective, he watched school surveillance footage and never saw QW grab Jane Doe’s wrists like she had described it.

The detective is also heard saying that he’d talked to QW as well. Jane Doe said she knew what QW was going to say, and the detective replied “No, you don’t.”

This led the plaintiff’s attorney to ask Jane Doe how she knew QW was going to say what happened was consensual, and she responded, “That’s what rapists do.”

During the interview, as Jane Doe recounts for the CMPD detective how the Myers Park SRO didn’t seem too interested in her story, she said that “I just want to feel believed.”

The aftermath

Once the interview is played for the jury, the plaintiff’s attorney asks the last of her questions.

Jane Doe reveals that she never went on to be a lawyer because the experience left her feeling that “nobody cares about justice.”

She claimed that neither Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools or Myers Park officials ever asked her to make a statement. She said she eventually transferred to South Mecklenburg High School, where her grades slipped since it was hard to focus on school because she was scared all the time.

Jane Doe, who said she’s now a behavioral technician working with children on the autism spectrum, testified that she’s currently on three medications for depression, problems sleeping and anxiety.

She also told the jurors that she has suicidal thoughts almost daily.

Before the end of questioning by the plaintiff’s side, Jane Doe admitted she didn’t share the same level of detail during the police interview as she did in court Thursday because she was embarrassed.

She stressed that she is glad she spoke up.

“No matter what happens today, I’m glad I said something because it was gonna keep going,” she said.

This week’s trial is the culmination of a lawsuit the former student’s lawyers filed against CMS and the CMPD in 2018.

Testimony continues in the case.