Sex abuse within school settings is usually actionable due to the negligence of the school in either hiring, retaining or otherwise negligently supervising a known or reasonably suspected sexual abuser. Whether it is a school, youth organization, day care or other type of child/youth organization, child sex abuse is often caused by the negligence of school administrators and those in charge.
For instance, a teacher who abuses a student or more than one student may be reported to school officials who do nothing, thus allowing additional and subsequent acts of sexual abuse to occur. Due to the school’s negligence, current victims may continue to suffer and/or the teacher may begin abusing new students. The most common claims against a school in such a situation include:
- negligent hiring
- negligent retention and
- negligent supervision.
A negligent hiring claim is usually made when negligence occurs during the hiring process, such as failing to check references appropriately. For instance, a teacher may be fired or quit due to allegations of sex abuse and then moves to another state and attempts to get a job working with children in a school or other youth setting (i.e., youth organizations, etc.). The school/youth organization fails to follow up and check references, or checks the wrong reference.
For example, a teacher is arrested or convicted of a crime related to abuse and later attempts to get a job at a private tutoring company. The teacher lies about the arrest/conviction and the tutoring school hires the teacher without conducting a background check. The teacher then assaults a student. The private tutoring school may be liable because it failed to conduct a background check.
A claim based on negligent retention involves situations where an employer (school, camp, youth organization, etc.) becomes aware of allegations of sexual abuse or improper conduct and does nothing or fails to conduct a proper report. For example, a teacher begins an inappropriate relationship with a student and that relationship is reported to school officials. If the school officials do nothing and ignore the report, and the teacher then begins to sexually abuse the student or sexually abuse another student, the school may be liable for negligently retaining the teacher.
A claim based on negligent supervision is related to the claim based on negligent retention. A claim of negligent supervision is based on the act of failing to follow appropriate procedures and protocols with respect to handling a report of sexual abuse or inappropriate conduct. Many schools either fail to have a policy or otherwise fail to train employee about the policy.
Related Legal Articles:
- Civil Liability in School Sex Abuse Cases – What Claims are Usually Made?
- School Sex Abuse Claims in New Jersey (Part 1) – NJ’s Child Sex Abuse Act
- New Jersey Child Sex Abuse in Schools – The Statute of Limitations
New Jersey School Sex Abuse Lawyers – Representation by a Former Sex Crimes Unit Prosecutor
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