Sexual assault victim, parents file lawsuits

Published 9:52 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

A minor who was sexually assaulted on a Franklin City Public School bus returning home from a volleyball game in August 2013, has filed a lawsuit against two former volleyball coaches, the School Board of the City of Franklin and the City of Franklin Public Schools.

The victim’s parents, whose names are being withheld to further protect the child’s identity, are also each individually suing Erica Smith-Ingram and Adonica Keeton, who were former teachers and volleyball coaches at Franklin.

At the time of the assault, the victim was 13 years old when Aerial Darden, a senior volleyball captain at Franklin High School, organized a group that held down the victim, placed a pillow over her face and sexually assaulted her.

Darden was 17 years old during the time of offense and was tried as an adult in August 2014. She pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery, and was charged with nine counts — both felonies and misdemeanors — including carnal knowledge of a child and aggravated sexual battery with part of a mop.

According to the current lawsuit, all defendants are being charged with negligence, gross negligence and willful and wanton negligence.

In the jury trial demand, it is stated that the plaintiffs are seeking $4,000,000 in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.

More information on this matter will be given as it becomes available.