PHILADELPHIA – A new civil lawsuit has been filed against a school employee who allegedly allowed a child to be kidnapped from an elementary school in 2013, leading to the girl's torture.
As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, in 2015 Christina Regusters was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison for the kidnapping of a then-5-year-old girl from W.C. Bryant School Elementary School in West Philadelphia.
After leaving school with the child,Regusters blindfolded the child, stuffed her into a laundry bag and sexually abused her with a sharp object. The child was so badly injured she had to wear a colostomy bag for six months.
The named defendant in the new civil case is Lisa K. Jones, a school aide who allegedly allowed Reguster to go to the child’s classroom and remove her on Jan. 14, 2013. The school policy was that anyone taking a child out of school had to show identification and sign out the child in the office, but Jones allegedly didn’t ask for identification of Regusters.
According to the complaint filed Dec. 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, “Regusters initially encountered support services assistant/noon time aide Lisa Jones at the Welcome Desk at the Hazel Avenue entrance to Bryant Elementary.”
The suit states Regusters didn’t go to the office as directed by Jones to request the girl's release, but went directly to the child’s kindergarten classroom.
As a result, the suit states the child was kidnapped, repeatedly sexually assaulted, and was found Jan. 15, 2013, by a sanitation worker at a playground. The complaint specifies that as a result of Jones allowing Regusters to kidnap her, the child “suffered harm, including sexual assault, with its attendant signs, symptoms and sequellae” and states that the child suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the complaint, plaintiff L.R., parent of N.R., asks for past and future medical expenses, economic and non-economic harm, past and future pain and suffering and more.
L.R. is represented by attorneys Thomas R. Kline, Dominic Guerrini and David C. Williams of Kline & Specter PC in Philadelphia.
The child’s mother previously filed suit against Reginald Littlejohn, the substitute teacher who allowed Regusters to take the child from the classroom, as previously reported by the Pennsylvania Record. Typically, school employees are not subject to civil suits because of “qualified immunity.” However, because of the facts of this case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit allowed the suit to proceed and the appellate court upheld that ruling.
In September of 2016, a panel of appellate judges found that “In sum, L.R. sufficiently proved a state-created danger exception. By allowing her to leave school with a stranger, Littlejohn clearly deprived Jane of her substantive due process rights, which he knew to exist at the time, precluding his qualified immunity defense.”