A 12-year-old rape victim was told by the headmaster of a Christian school "to turn the other cheek" and that "everything in God's kingdom happens for a reason", lawsuit files alledge.
The school is being accused of covering up repeated sexual assaults against the boy, downplaying the attacks and refusing to report a rape in a lawsuit that is seeking at least $30m (£23m) in damages.
The mother of the boy, who attends Brentwood Academy, a prestigious private school in Williamson County in Tennessee, filed the lawsuit in which she also accuses four eight-grade students, then 14 and 15-years-old, of having repeatedly sexually abused her son when he was in the sixth grade in 2014/15.
In the court documents, the mother of the anonymous victim, named as John Doe, claims the older students would force their genitals in her son's face and mouth and sexually harass him in the school's locker room in front of other students.
One boy allegedly "would place his penis before plaintiff John Doe and forcibly penetrated it into the mouth of John Doe without consenting claiming 'eat it, eat it, eat it, open your mouth, accept it'", the lawsuit alleges.
The same student is also accused of having anally raped the then 12-year-old boy. He allegedly boasted to the basketball team that he "f***d that boy up the ass and stuck a Gatorade bottle in him".
Throughout the academic year, the four students repeatedly intimidated, harassed and bullied John Doe, the lawsuit claims.
When John Doe talked about the incident to the school headmaster Curtis H Masters, he allegedly told him he needed to "turn the other cheek and that "everything in God's kingdom happens for a reason".
He added that staff had been speaking about installing cameras in the locker room and that in the meantime he could change in his office.
When John Doe's mother approached school employee Chris Roberts, a member of Christian counselling ministry Daystar Counselling, he responded: "reporting this may not be the best thing to do.... this isn't how Christian institutions handle these things", the lawsuit claims.
She also met with the school headmaster Masters to report the incidents of bullying and sexual harassment against her son but the court documents claim he allegedly considered that this was a matter of "boys being boys and he could not investigate each of those and run a school".
In addition to Masters, middle school director Nancy Brasher, administrator and middle school athletic director Buddy Alexander, assistant basketball coach Lyle Husband and sixth-grade basketball coach Mike Vazquez, who is also Masters' son-in-law, are named as individual defendants in the suit.
“Our highest priority is the safety and protection of our students. We take any allegation involving our students very seriously,” Masters said in a statement to local paper The Tennessean.
“We responded immediately and fully cooperated with authorities when we became aware of concerns in 2015.”