There are a lot of things about Texas that makes me not want to live there, and a story I heard by way of Mick Foley (that’s right, THAT Mick Foley) today gives me yet another reason. Maybe this story could’ve (and might’ve) happened in another state, but this story happens in Texas.

A high school girl in south east Texas was raped at the age of 16 (and the details are disturbing, as they include the actions of more than one male assailant). They made arrests. One of the young men – we’ll call him Irvin – plead guilty to a lower charge of assault. He spent some time taking anger management classes, did community service, and “served” two years of probation.

How did he get off so easily? The author of one article on the topic discovered some interesting facts about the original grand jury involved:

Three months after the rape, a grand jury chose not to indict [Irvin] or his accomplice, [Johnson]. In private interviews I learned that [Irvin’s] family pastor was on the jury, and that his cousin […] is also a powerful member of the city council, under the employ of District Attorney David Sheffield, who presented the case.

When he returned to high school, he joined the basketball team. The young woman who was raped? A cheerleader for the same school.

Here comes the problem: he hit the free-throw line. She was instructed to cheer for him along with the other cheerleaders. Instead, she decided to stay silent with her arms crossed over her chest. Not only did the school superintendent reprimand her, but he kicked her off of the cheerleading squad.

Her family filed a lawsuit against the school district, saying her right to free speech was violated. Instead of just denying the family’s claim, the courts decided that her family had to compensate the school district for its legal fees, stating that the lawsuit was frivolous.

Are you kidding me? They called it a frivolous lawsuit?

I say the school district officials were being frivolous by yelling at a girl for not getting involved in one cheer.

Anybody hoping for another appeal in this case? You’re out of luck. It went through the system, the ruling held that cheerleaders give up their right to free speech while acting as the voice of the school. The United States Supreme Court refused to even hear the case.

Somebody should start a fund to allow people to help her family pay the legal fees.

Sources: Ms Magazine and The Independent