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Preschool Sexual Assault Lawyer | Free Consultation

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Preschool Sexual Assault Lawyer

preschool sexual assault lawyer

Preschools should provide a secure and supportive atmosphere for our little ones. When we enroll a child in preschool, we entrust the institution with a significant responsibility. Employing individuals with a history of sexual abuse at a preschool blatantly breaches that trust and exposes our children to the potential for emotional and physical harm. If you or your child have experienced sexual assault at a preschool, you may have legal recourse to hold the school accountable for negligently hiring the offender.

Lax Oversight by School Management Putting Young Children at Risk

Don’t assume that sexual assault and abuse are so uncommon that your child is safe. USA Today conducted an extensive investigation into educator misconduct and licensing databases nationwide. The publication meticulously reviewed numerous court records and employment documents, revealing findings that could be deeply unsettling.

Many schools were discovered to have neglected even the most fundamental background checks when hiring teachers for open positions. For instance, one Louisiana school employed a teacher who had previously been registered as a sex offender in another state.

What’s even more alarming, the investigation unearthed numerous instances where state education agencies violated federal regulations by engaging in “secret agreements” with teachers suspected of child sexual abuse and molestation. These agreements allowed schools to effectively bury allegations by persuading teachers to resign quietly rather than going through a lengthy legal process. This practice is shocking and unacceptable, as it enables abusive teachers to quickly secure new positions in different school districts or settings where they may interact with young children.

The USA Today investigation also revealed that school administrators who fail to report the resignation of problematic teachers rarely face penalties. It’s important to remember that forty-one states have laws explicitly mandating that public school administrators report the dismissal or resignation of a teacher suspected of sexual abuse or molestation to state education authorities. Neglecting to do so could enable a teacher who resigned due to such suspicions to seek new teaching positions. Even if the new school conducts a background check, they may not uncover information about the abuse allegations.

Abusive Teachers Easily Find New Jobs

Having a history of preschool sexual assault or abuse should tarnish your reputation and hinder your prospects of being employed by another school. Surprisingly, this isn’t the reality for numerous teachers. According to the USA Today investigation, numerous teachers who were terminated or left their positions following allegations of abusive conduct encountered little difficulty in securing new employment at different schools. To illustrate, a teacher in New Jersey who had sexually abused five elementary school students was discovered to have a prior record of sexual abuse in a different school district. However, he could still secure a position at the New Jersey school.

Preschool Sexual Abuse Risk Only Growing

As reported by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, there has been a significant increase in the number of investigations related to allegations of sexual abuse and molestation in California schools since the 2008-2009 academic year, with the figures more than doubling. Similar trends have been observed in other states, such as Texas, which has witnessed a 27 percent surge in investigations concerning alleged inappropriate relationships between teachers and students.

Take Legal Action Against the School That Hired the Abuser

If your child has experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a preschool teacher, it’s essential to know that you have legal rights, and you may have the option to pursue legal action by filing a lawsuit against the school that employed the abuser. By California law, an employer can be held responsible for the harmful actions of their employees if there is proof that the employer neglected to investigate prior complaints or review the perpetrator’s background before hiring them. This legal claim is commonly referred to as “negligent hiring.”

Lawsuit Against a School for Hiring a Sexually Abusive Teacher

If a preschool employed a teacher who subjected you or your child to abuse, it’s possible that the school did not adequately investigate the teacher’s background and references. If this lack of diligence occurred, your attorney specializing in sexual abuse cases should initiate legal proceedings against the preschool for its negligent hiring practices. This legal action is taken by individuals who assert that they have suffered harm due to an employee, and the employer (in this case, the preschool) either knew or should have known about the employee’s propensity to cause harm.

Negligent Hiring Claim in California – What Needs to Be Proven

When initiating a civil case against a defendant, as the plaintiff, it is your responsibility to establish the case’s validity. This entails presenting adequate evidence demonstrating that the preschool failed in its duty when hiring the abusive teacher and that this failure directly led to your harm.

In California, employers are required to conduct background checks on their employees to assess their suitability for specific roles. In the context of a preschool, the institution must thoroughly investigate a potential teacher’s background to evaluate their qualifications for teaching and other associated job responsibilities. Additionally, the school must continuously monitor the employee’s suitability for the position. Consequently, if a preschool becomes aware of allegations of abuse and takes no action, it can be held accountable for the resulting harm. The essential legal components needed to substantiate a claim of negligent hiring.

The preschool, as the employer, had an obligation to both employ and oversee its staff. The preschool was or should have been aware that the teacher presented a safety concern to others. However, the preschool failed to fulfill its duty, harming you or a cherished family member.

Recoverable Damages in a Preschool Sexual Assault Case

When a defendant faces a civil lawsuit, the potential compensation claims typically include economic, non-economic, and sometimes punitive damages. While economic damages refer to losses such as medical expenses and lost income, non-economic damages often refer to the kind of pain and suffering frequently endured by survivors of sexual abuse.

Many survivors of sexual abuse report reduced interest in social interactions, an increased likelihood of turning to substance abuse, a heightened risk of developing depression, and a greater tendency to contemplate suicide compared to non-victims. The harm inflicted upon young children when subjected to preschool abuse can have a profound and life-altering impact.

Should you choose to retain a sexual abuse attorney, an essential aspect of their role will involve effectively conveying the harm suffered by you or your child to the school’s defense counsel and, if applicable, a jury. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, punitive damages may be pursued. These punitive damages serve as a punishment, signaling to the community that the defendant’s actions were reprehensible and will not be tolerated.

Examples of Successful School Sexual Assault Lawsuits

Regrettably, numerous instances of lawsuits filed on behalf of abused children have led to favorable outcomes in terms of jury verdicts and settlements against schools due to their negligent hiring of abusive teachers. For instance, one case saw a survivor of sexual abuse awarded $8 million as a result of the actions of a teacher, with the Pomona Unified School District held responsible for the abuse.

Another illustration involves a case concerning two boys who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of an elementary teacher within the Los Angeles Unified School District. After careful examination of the disturbing evidence, a Los Angeles jury granted $3 million in compensation to each of the boys, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The abusive teacher, who was convicted of committing lewd acts with thirteen children (not limited to the two boys), is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence. The school district acknowledged its liability for the negligent hiring, supervision, and retention of the teacher.

Sacramento Sexual Abuse Attorney

These cases can be intricate and emotionally charged, frequently encompassing survivors who must bravely share their experiences of abuse involving a teacher. We invite you to contact our experienced preschool sexual abuse lawyers today for a confidential consultation at either of our phone lines: (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team is here to provide free and friendly advice.

Editor’s Note: updated 11.1.23 Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay sb bw [cs 1372]