12-year-old met accused kidnapper online using school laptop, mother says in lawsuit
A mother is suing a Florida school district after she says her daughter was groomed and later kidnapped by a man she met online while using a school-issued laptop.
The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 6 against the School Board of Orange County, says that the school-issued laptop, which was given to the 12-year-old girl to do remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, did not have protections to block access to social media.
Around September 2020, 26-year-old Keith Green Jr. began contacting the girl on social media, according to the lawsuit. He began “grooming” the girl and told her he wanted to have a “romantic and/or sexual relationship” with her, the lawsuit says . He also told her that he wanted her to move in with him and tell everyone that she was his niece, according to the lawsuit.
He tried to get her to leave her home and in one instance promised to get her a new iPhone, the lawsuit says.
Orange County Public Schools failed to prevent the communication between Green and the minor, the lawsuit says. In addition to Green “grooming” the girl, he also solicited “child pornographic images” from her, the lawsuit says.
A spokesperson for the school district told McClatchy News that the district does not comment on potential or pending litigation.
On Sept. 26, 2020, Green kidnapped the girl from her home and an Amber alert was issued, the lawsuit says. She was last seen at around 2 p.m. that day.
Police found the girl just after 10:30 p.m. that day, the lawsuit says. Green had sexually assaulted her during the kidnapping, according to the lawsuit.
Green was booked into the Orange County Jail on Oct. 6, 2020, and charged with solicitation of a minor via computer, kidnapping a child under 13 and lewd or lascivious molestation, among other things, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Office records.
Jail records did not list an attorney who could be contacted to comment on Green’s behalf.
When the girl went missing, her mother could not get her school-issued laptop unlocked to help police with their search, the lawsuit says.
After the kidnapping, the girl’s mother requested “non-electronic educational options” for her daughter, but the school district only gave her the option to pick up another laptop, the lawsuit says.
Her daughter ended up missing her entire sixth-grade year, and the school district tried to move her into seventh and eighth grade without her sixth-grade transcripts, the lawsuit says. The student will not be able to start high school unless she completes sixth grade, the lawsuit says.
“(Orange County Public Schools) has informed (the girl’s mother) that if she moves (her) back into regular school, they will require her to return to 6th grade,” the lawsuit says. “In essence, (Orange County Public Schools) will be punishing (the girl) for its own gross negligence and for its failure to provide her with any reasonable educational alternatives.”
The girl has transferred schools into an “alternative educational setting” and is still experiencing the effects of trauma from the sexual assault, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit is seeking compensatory damages in an amount still to be determined.
Orange County is in central Florida about 230 miles north of Miami. Orlando is the county seat.
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