As evidenced by the Penn State sex abuse scandal and the many others around the country, sex abuse in schools is a reality we must face and work to prevent in the future. Child sex abuse leaves very, very deep emotional and psychological scars. Abusers work by gaining a victim’s trust which makes it very difficult for the young victim to do anything about the abuse.
School sex abuse is often perpetrated by:
- teacher aides,
- coaches, and
- maintenance staff.
Victims often feel alone, isolated from others, guilt and shame. There are two things victims of such abuse may not realize: 1. the abuser is very likely to have abused others and 2. in the majority of school sex abuse cases, the school will face civil liability for the abuse. Another thing victims of school sex abuse do not often realize is that they can seek justice for the abuse, against the abuser and any other person or entity which negligently failed to stop or report the abuse.
Victims of School Sex Abuse Predators are Not Alone
Child sex abuse predators often abuse multiple children at one time. In addition, by the time a child sex abuser begins abusing children in school, they have often abused many others over a period of many years. The main reason this happens is the nature of children themselves, who are innocent and unassuming. They simply don’t know what to do. Children who suffer abuse are often too ashamed and afraid of getting in trouble, so they keep quiet. This then emboldens the abuser to continue the abuse and also abuse others. The cycle continues.
Others at the School Likely Knew About the Abuse and Did Nothing
Sex abuse within a school is hardly ever a secret. This is because teachers and students talk or gossip. Those who abuse children in a school setting tend to shower their victims with extra attention. Other students and teachers often take notice. Also, in many instances, the abuse will actually occur at school. Again, other students and teachers take notice. This is what forms the basis for the school’s civil liability.
When another school employee has knowledge of the abuse and fails to stop and report the abuse, the school is likely to face civil liability. The number one reason fellow school employees fail to stop/report the abuse is lack of knowledge of the school’s policy and procedure about reporting such abuse. Under Pennsylvania law, school employees are under mandatory reporting requirements. In other words, schools are required to report cases of suspected child abuse, including sex abuse. However, many schools fail to have a written or verbal policy on reporting school sex abuse. So, school employees simply don’t know what to do when they hear or see a fellow employee abusing a child.
Justice for a school sex abuse victim can be found in many ways. For some, justice may be sitting across from the abuser at a deposition and listening to the abuser admit the abuse. For others, justice may be a jury verdict finding the defendant guilty of the abuse and also finding the school guilty of failing to stop the abuse.
Related Legal Articles:
- Civil Liability in School Sex Abuse Cases – What Claims are Usually Made
- Pennsylvania Child Sex Abuse Law: The Statute of Limitations
For more information, contact our Pennsylvania and New Jersey school sex abuse civil justice lawyers. Click To Call. Our lawyers offer free consultations and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.
Our attorneys serve school sexual abuse victims in the following areas: Atlantic County, NJ; Burlington County, NJ; Camden County, NJ; Cumberland County, NJ; Gloucester County, NJ; Salem County, NJ; Allegheny County, PA; Berks County, PA; Bucks County, PA; Chester County, PA; Delaware County, PA; Lehigh County, PA; Montgomery County, PA; Northampton County, PA: Philadelphia County, PA; New Castle County, DE; Kent County, DE; Atlantic City, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Newark, NJ; Doylestown, PA; Media, PA; West Chester, PA; Norristown, PA; Camden, NJ; Wilmington, DE; Newark, DE; Georgetown, DE; and New Castle, DE. Our lawyers can also obtain special admission in other states such as New York or Delaware on a case by case basis.
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Published: July 15, 2012