The trial over the rape of elementary school entered its third day Wednesday with emotional testimony from the boy’s parents.
The trial began Wednesday with an education administration expert telling the judge the school district failed to reasonably protect Justin Bleker and the students at Abney Elementary when they hire janitor Dino Schwertz.
When 11-year-old Justin Bleker was raped repeatedly in the Abney Elementary School bathroom in 2007, the janitor attacked him. Dino Schwertz not only stole his innocence, Bleker’s parents say Schwertz tore apart their marriage.
Timothy Bleker and Rebecca Hickman described Justin’s night terrors for Judge Raymond Childress, how to this day he can’t sleep alone.
“They can't find nothing medically wrong with him but yet he's in a bathroom 24/7. Or yet he's throwing up. The only thing a doctor can tell us is it's psychological. It's nerves,” Rebecca Hickman said.
Bleker and Hickman sat down with WWL-TV two weeks ago, raising concerns in their lawsuit that the school district hired Schwertz without checking his references.
Abney’s former principal Kathleen Katsorchis testified Tuesday that she didn’t check Schwertz’s references because they only say nice things about people. School administration expert Edward Dragan said Wednesday, “That excuse was totally unreasonable.”
Dragan went on to say the lie on his application and the convictions indicated Schwertz was someone who couldn’t be trusted.
While attorneys representing the school board pointed out that the district followed the letter of the law, that reference checks are not required, the expert told the judge, “In order to protect kids from the harm, you don’t just have to meet the bare minimum.”
Justin Bleker is expected to take the stand after his mother Thursday and the school district will then begin to call its witnesses.