January 19, 2012 12:34:00 PM
NEW ORLEANS -- A south Mississippi school district is asking a federal appeal court to throw out a lawsuit claiming a 9-year-old student was repeatedly raped by a man who checked her out of school six times without authorization.
The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals didn't immediately rule Wednesday after hearing arguments in the case filed by the girl's relatives, who say a Covington County school failed to verify Tommy Keyes' identity when he took the girl from campus.
A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2009, but a three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit revived it last year. Eighteen judges from the appeals court heard the case Wednesday.
The school district argues a public school system doesn't have a constitutional duty to protect students from harm by "private actors."
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
1. Man's body recovered from Lowndes Co. pond COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Student's statutory rape charges dismissed COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Portion of Military Road closed after culvert collapses COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY