An 18-year-old female student at Ballard High School was sexually assaulted in a school restroom in March, according to Seattle police. The suspect, also an 18-year-old student, was charged this week with third-degree rape.
An 18-year-old Ballard High School student was charged this week with third-degree rape, accused of forcing a female student to perform a sex act on him in one of the school’s coed restrooms in March.
Demonte Rigney, of Shoreline, was arrested June 28 and spent two days in the King County Jail before he was released because criminal charges had not been filed at that time, according to prosecutors. A summons has been issued for Rigney to appear for arraignment in King County Superior Court on Aug. 6, court records show.
The victim, who is also 18, has known Rigney since the sixth grade and described him as a school acquaintance, someone she had never spent time with outside of school, charging papers say. On March 27, the female student passed Rigney in the hallway at Ballard High. He asked for her phone number, and she gave it to him.
Later that day, Rigney sent her a text message, asking her to meet in a coed restroom and she agreed, “not thinking anything of the request,” charging papers say.
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Once inside the bathroom, Rigney used his body to block the door and dropped his pants, then sexually assaulted the woman despite her repeatedly telling him no, say the charges. She later told police “Demonte is much larger than her,” and she was afraid he would hurt her if she didn’t comply. According to a form attached to the charges, Rigney is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds.
During the assault at least one student tried to enter the bathroom, but Rigney pushed the door closed so she couldn’t come inside, the charges say.
The alleged assault happened between second and third periods and afterward, outside the bathroom, Rigney asked the woman what she was going to do after high school. When another student walked up and began a conversation with Rigney, the woman walked away. When she got home from school, she told her parents what had happened and they called Seattle police.
Video-surveillance footage showed Rigney and the woman walking in the hall together just before 11:30 a.m., but the footage did not show the doorway into the bathroom, say the charges. A school security guard also remembered seeing the students together on the day of the assault, according to charging papers.
In May, members of the Seattle Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigations Unit responded to the school, and found semen on one of the bathroom walls, the charges say.
In an emailed statement sent to The Seattle Times from Seattle Public Schools’ Office of Public Affairs, a spokesperson declined to answer questions about Rigney’s status at the school and any discipline he may have faced, citing the federal Family Educational Privacy Act (FERPA), that protects the privacy of students’ educational records.
The statement reads:
“The physical and emotional safety of our students is our highest priority. Seattle Public Schools takes reports of sexual assault very seriously. The district takes proactive steps to keep our students safe and when necessary supports students when sexual assault is reported. In this case, district staff worked closely with the Seattle Police Department to immediately investigate and make sure all involved were supported and made aware of their legal rights.
“Our district has an Office of Student Civil rights which investigates allegations of sexual harassment including assault. The OSCR works closely with the SPD’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit and also works closely with schools to ensure protocols are followed.
“We can’t share student information that is protected by FERPA or which may interfere with an ongoing investigation.”