Home Sexual Assault Cases Lawsuit: Snohomish High School was negligent in rape of girl in ’80s

Lawsuit: Snohomish High School was negligent in rape of girl in ’80s

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SNOHOMISH — A woman was at a high school friend’s house when she heard a man’s voice on the phone.

She immediately recognized it. That man on the phone had sexually assaulted her at Snohomish High School in the 1980s, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Snohomish County Superior Court.

The moment the woman heard his voice, “It all came flooding back,” her attorney, Kirk Davis, told The Daily Herald.

Around 1980 or 1981, a Snohomish High School teacher, Mark Albertine, would punish students by locking them in a room unsupervised, according to the lawsuit. At the time, the woman was a 15-year-old student there.

She made a sarcastic comment in class, so Albertine locked her in a conference room, the complaint alleges. When she got there, a teen boy was already there. Albertine, who retired in 2017 after decades as the girls basketball coach and in various leadership roles, locked the door and left.

The boy sexually assaulted her, according to the lawsuit. She couldn’t get out of the room or call for help.

The assault wasn’t reported to police, Davis said. In fact, she didn’t tell anyone for years.

“It had a tremendous impact upon her at the time,” he said. “She certainly became a different girl.”

The lawsuit argues Snohomish School District and the high school acted negligently in allowing Albertine’s form of punishment to be levied. Since the litigation is pending, the district declined to comment. Reached by phone last week, Albertine also declined to comment.

Last year, the two old high school friends discussed what happened, Davis said. The woman’s friend said the man should apologize for what he did. They called him together and put it on speakerphone, the lawyer said. The woman, identified in the lawsuit only by her initials, said she wanted to talk about what happened at the school.

“He knew immediately what she was talking about,” Davis said.

The man apologized.

This is the only way the woman can get justice, Davis said. The statute of limitations has passed for criminal charges. While state lawmakers have extended or, in some cases, eliminated the statute of limitations for sexual assault, it doesn’t apply to this case where the deadline had already passed.

“There needs to be a recognition of what happened here,” he said.

The woman, now in her 50s and living in Pierce County, has been in therapy to figure out how the abuse has impacted her decades later, her lawyer said.

A previous version of this article misstated the woman’s current age.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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