You entrust your child with a trusted stranger for approximately eight hours a day, five days a week. You believe that person will educate them, keep them safe, and make sure no harm comes to them. And when that trust is broken in the most heinous of ways, you and your family are left in shatters.
It is the job of our schools to protect our children and guide them to a bright future. But more and more, we hear stories of teachers and educators sexually abusing our children. And at Fellerman & Ciarimboli, we’re taking a stand against these predators and the institutions that turn a blind eye. For decades, our school sexual abuse lawyers have been protecting the rights of sexual assault survivors. We give them the voice they need to stop this abuse once and for all.
Sexual Abuse in Our Schools: By the Numbers
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an average of 321,500 Americans over the age of 12 are victims of rape and sexual assault each year in the U.S. That adds up to an American being sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. With 93 percent of the victims under the age of 18 knowing who their abuser is, chances are teachers and school educators fall into this category.
Each year, we hear more and more of sexual abuse by teachers. According to the nonprofit organization Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation (SESAME), there were 361 published cases of school employee sexual misconduct in the U.S. in 2014. An estimated 1 in 10 students will experience some type of sexual abuse from a school employee by the time they graduate from high school. The majority of these victims (62 percent) were high school students with an average age of 15 years old. What’s even more disturbing is the number of victims a teacher offender can have. SESAME states that the majority of these abusers have multiple victims; according to a 2010 Government Accountability Study, just one perpetrator can have as many as 73 victims.
What Happens to the Sexual Abusers?
Much like in clergy abuse cases, school districts have a tendency to hide the facts rather than fix the problem. According to the Government Accountability Office, a teacher accused of sexually abusing a student will be transferred to three different schools before being reported to the police. This practice, known as “Pass the Trash” — the accused teacher gets a new job at another school, abuse occurs, the teacher is dismissed instead of turned in, the teacher finds a new position, and then the abuse reoccurs.
There are federal laws in place to prevent this abuse from occurring. Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, schools that receive federal funding are required to investigate any claim of sexual abuse by an educator. Schools are required to take action, stopping the behavior and preventing it from reoccurring again. In Pennsylvania, mandatory reporters — which can be a teacher, an administrator, or the school nurse — are required by state law to report any suspicion of child abuse to authorities, including abuse done by an educator.
However, the Department of Education does not monitor how schools comply with federal laws. The cycle continues until someone finally speaks up.
What Legal Actions Are Available for School Sexual Abuse Victims
As with any institutional sexual abuse claim, there are two types of claims that can be filed against these predators — a criminal charge and a civil claim. For a civil action, you can not only sue the perpetrator but according to Pennsylvania law, the school districts can also be held liable for not reporting the abuse and just passing the trash.
By speaking up you are stopping the cycle. You will stand up for your rights and protect the rights of future students. When you bring forward a sexual abuse suit against a school district, you are fighting for the institutional corrections, preventing this abuse from happening again.
However, it’s important to have the proper sexual assault lawyer by your side to assist you and your family during this time. And those attorneys are the Pennsylvania school sexual abuse lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli. Our Philadelphia attorneys have been fighting for the rights of minors and adults for decades. We are committed to those who were victimized by not only a sexual predator but by those who could have stopped the abuse from happening in the first place.
Contact Our PA School Sexual Abuse Lawyers Now
We understand how difficult it is to discuss this topic. But it is not your fault and it’s not right your child had suffered. Your family deserves justice and compensation for the suffering you and your family have endured. Fellerman & Ciarimboli makes sure your voice is not silenced. We will fight for you and give you a voice inside the courtroom. Contact one of our offices in Philadelphia, Scranton, or Wilkes-Barre now for a free consultation.