School Security Officer Roxann Peterson Says She Was Groped, Then Fired For Reporting It

4:38 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A school security officer who's worked for nearly a decade in DC Public Schools alleges she was groped by a male student and then fired after reporting it.

Roxanna Peterson says some local schools have become unsafe-- even for those whose jobs are to keep them secure. She says her short time at Ballou High School was tainted by violence.

"I was grabbed in my throat by a male student and punched in my chest," said school security officer Peterson. She says she endured physical and verbal attacks by some Ballou High School students, but one teenager's alleged actions crossed the line.

"I had him following me around for, I would say, almost two weeks, telling me how big my behind was. He wanted to screw me in my behind. I didn't think that was appropriate," she said.

According to Roxanna, she reported the student to her superiors at Allied Barton, the security company contracted to DC Public Schools, and managed by Metropolitan Police. She was told to ignore the student, which she did, until the day she says he grabbed her.

"I turned around and said, 'What the f**k? Did you just touch me on my behind? And I turned around and he was running," she said.

Roxanna chased him down and is quick to acknowledge, she made a mistake.

"Was it right for me to throw the radio? No. But how much was I supposed to take before I felt as though I had to protect myself?"

Roxanna was arrested and spent a night in jail. She says she has never been arrested before. It wasn't the simple assault charge that shocked her, but one clearly noted on the arrest report: SEX ABUSE.

"I felt him touching me. Touching my behind," she recalled. Roxanna says she and other AlliedBarton security officers had been warned NOT to report negative incidents, like students caught smoking marijuana, or there would be a price to pay.

"I was sexually molested and sodomized as a young teenager so to be touched inappropriate like that, it really bothered me. I really was upset. I don't believe I should have been at work and then violated that way by a student," she said. 

Roxanna is the daughter of a Metropolitan police officer, a grandmother, and a single Mom who raised four sons.  She was fired and now faces criminal charges.

"It pretty much hurts. I've been working since I was 17 years old. I don't know what it's like not to work," she said.

Roxanna's story takes another striking turn. Her throwing the radio at the student was caught on tape. The teenager's alleged groping was not.

"I asked the security officer that runs the camera room if she could show me the tape or the camera that he touched me. And she said, 'Well, Officer Peterson, that camera doesn't work."

And she alleges, many of DC school security cameras are out of order, further putting students at risk.

"I've lost everything. Except my home," said Roxanna, before pausing. "And my faith in God."

Metropolitan Police said the department did not charge Roxanna with a sex offense and a spokeswoman even wrote, "Not sure where you are getting that information."

It's clearly indicated on the arrest record. WUSA9 asked the U.S. Attorneys office too and were told Roxanna only faced the simple assault charge.

In court today, she was asked to do 32 hours of community service. If she completes that successfully and returns to court this fall, the charge could be dismissed.

Written by Andrea McCarren, WUSA9

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