A former teacher at the Pennington School in New Jersey was arrested late last year for allegedly sexually assaulting a student. The Pennington School is located just north of Trenton.
The incident occurred in Solebury Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 2017. Alyssia Reddy faces 4 counts, including 3 third degree felonies and 1 misdemeanor. See Commonwealth v. Reddy, CP-09-CR-0001180-2018 (Bucks County Court of Common Pleas).
According to a news report, Reddy was teaching at a Catholic school in Maryland at the time of her arrest. See http://6abc.com, Teacher charged with sex assault of student in Bucks County. She was arrested in Baltimore and then extradited back to Pennsylvania. The felony charges include:
- Intercourse/Sexual Contact with Student,
- Unlawful Contact With Minor – Sexual Offenses, and
- Criminal Use Of Communication Facility.
The teacher also faces a single count of Corruption Of Minors, a first degree misdemeanor.
Teachers & Sex Assault or Abuse of Students
In the last 5 to 10 years, there has been a stark increase in the number of reports of teachers sexually assaulting or abusing their students. There have been dozens of cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey at both private and public schools, and the cases involve all levels, from pre-school to high school. In addition, the acts aren’t just perpetrated by teachers, sexual assault is often committed by sports coaches, teachers’ assistants and even principals or other administrators.
Criminal Justice AND Civil Justice
Victims of sexual abuse or assault at Pennsylvania or New Jersey schools can proceed with both criminal cases and civil lawsuits. Criminal cases will be handled by the local District Attorney’s office. Civil cases may be filed against perpetrators and their employers. For instance, a school can be sued when a teacher or other school employee assaults a student. The key in the case will be whether the school itself either 1. had direct knowledge that the abuse or assault was occurring, or 2. should have known about the potential for abuse or assault.
Cases against schools for sex assault often depend on who knew what and when. It’s often the case that perpetrators of sex assault groom their victims. This can take weeks or months. Behavior is often escalated over a period of time. Therefore, other employees come to suspect inappropriate behavior but often fail to report their suspicions to administrators. If reports are made, school administrators may take no action or take ineffective action.
Visit the Teacher-School Sex Assault Law page for more info on victims’ rights. If you’d like to speak to a victims’ rights lawyer at Laffey, Bucci & Kent, please call the firm at 215.399.9255.
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