A 12-year-old boy at a private Christian school who reported that he was raped by four senior boys was told by the school headmaster "to turn the other cheek" and that "everything in God's kingdom happens for a reason". The family of the boy has filed a lawsuit seeking $30m (£23m) in damages.

Brentwood Academy, a prestigious private school in Williamson County in Tennessee has been accused of covering up repeated sexual assaults against the boy. The mother of the boy said that she approached counsellors, teachers and headmaster, Curtis G Masters, but they downplayed the incidents and did not report them.

The lawsuit claims that the boy was first assaulted by four eight-grade students, then 14 and 15. The mother claims the boys repeatedly abused her son when he was in the sixth grade during the 2014/15 school year.

One boy would allegedly "place his penis before plaintiff John Doe and forcibly penetrated it into the mouth of John Doe without consenting claiming 'eat it, eat it, eat it, open your mouth, accept it'", the lawsuit alleges.

The same student is also accused of having anally raped the then 12-year-old boy. He allegedly boasted to the basketball team that he "f***d that boy up the ass and stuck a Gatorade bottle in him".

Masters referred to the attacks as "boys being boys" and when John Doe talked about the incident, the headmaster said "everything in God's kingdom happens for a reason" the lawsuit obtained by local publication The Tennessean said.

The same boy "exclaimed about this sexual assault and that he ejaculated on plaintiff John Doe", the lawsuit says.

In addition to Masters, middle school director Nancy Brasher, administrator and middle school athletic director Buddy Alexander, assistant basketball coach Lyle Husband and sixth-grade basketball coach Mike Vazquez, who is also Masters' son-in-law, are named as individual defendants in the suit.

"Our highest priority is the safety and protection of our students. We take any allegation involving our students very seriously," Masters said in a statement to The Tennessean.

"We responded immediately and fully cooperated with authorities when we became aware of concerns in 2015."

The 12-year-old boy is no longer at Brentwood Academy.