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May 25, 2019

Brooklyn middle school janitor repeatedly raped student in creepy boiler room ‘pen’ — but won’t face charges after victim waited too long to file suit

January 11, 2019
A woman’s lawsuit against the city over a school janitor, Ambiorix Rodriguez, who raped her in a crash pad in a middle school basement has been tossed because she waited too long to sue. (Department of Corrections)

A diagnosis of PTSD is no excuse for a woman’s failure to promptly sue the city over a sadistic Brooklyn school janitor who repeatedly raped her on middle school grounds, a judge ruled.

The woman, now 21 years old, sued the city last year for ignoring obvious red flags about janitor Ambiorix Rodriguez, who maintained a disturbing crash pad in the basement of the Middle School for Marketing and Legal Studies in East Flatbush.

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Rodriguez raped the woman around 40 times in 2010 and 2011 when she was in 8th grade and attending the school. The janitor is serving a sentence of 20 years to life.

In a ruling made public Tuesday, Justice Verna Saunders wrote that the victim had until Feb. 1, 2017 to file a late notice of claim because she was a minor at the time of the incident. She filed the claim, which is the first step towards a lawsuit against the city, on Aug. 30, 2017.

Rodriguez assaulted the student repeatedly in a disturbing school basement crash pad known as 'the pen.'
Rodriguez assaulted the student repeatedly in a disturbing school basement crash pad known as ‘the pen.’ (Court Documents)

“Under these circumstances, no cure is permissible and the action must be dismissed,” Saunders wrote.

The woman had submitted a psychiatric report backing up her argument that the statute of limitations should be waived because she’d been so traumatized.

“(She) suffers from PTSD, and this, in combination with her painful experience testifying in court, made speaking about her sexual trauma so painful that she was essentially psychiatrically incapacitated from working with a lawyer and suing for damages until relatively recently,” Dr. Roy Lubit wrote.

Aside from 10 minutes of testimony during Rodriguez’s trial in 2013, the woman barely spoken about the abuse until she was in college, the report said. She then started considering filing a lawsuit.

The trauma has not gone away.

“As a child rape victim, I live in constant fear that the defendant or his family will find me and cause me harm. I no longer feel safe at school; being alone; or in the presence of strangers — particularly men. I tried to seek counseling but find it impossible to discuss being raped out of enormous sense of anxiety and personal shame,” she said in a document filed in court.

Her lawsuit featured disturbing photographs of Rodriguez’s creepy den of degeneracy in the school basement known as “the pen.”

The cramped space was accessed through a locked steel door past the boiler room and had a gaping hole in the ceiling.

Mold crept up the wall next to couches, a television, a DVD player, a refrigerator and weights. The bizarre boiler room hideaway was on the DOE’s radar prior to the assaults, papers show.

Once in 2004, a custodial engineer smelled alcohol on Rodriguez’s breath when he went to collect a paycheck. The engineer then found two six-packs of Heineken in a trash can in Rodriguez’s “pen.”

Rodriguez was arrested twice on marijuana-related charges in 2003 and 2007 and was suspended without pay — but after the arrests, he returned to his job.

“This is a tragic case. The safety of students is our top priority, and DOE has strict policies in place to immediately investigate and address misconduct,” a Department of Education spokesman said.

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