In February 2012, a Queens, NY teacher was arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing two boys at an elementary school. The victims were under the age of 10. According to a NY Times article, the teacher had previously been the subject of an investigation for inappropriately touching students, but was still allowed to teach.
It is astounding, the lengths to which a school or organization will go to brush suspected child abuse or sex abuse under the rug. When deposing school administrators in these cases, the usual response as to why they did nothing is some excuse that they just didn’t realize it was sexual abuse or that it never occurred to them that the teacher or employee was a sexual predator. However, common sense dictates that there is no reason why any teacher should ever touch a child’s private parts. Period.
In school sex abuse cases, the abusing teacher may face criminal and civil liability. But what about the school or school district which had reason to suspect prior abuse and did nothing? Well, the civil justice system recognizes the right of an abuse victim to bring a claim against any person or entity which negligently contributed to the abuse. Common claims include failing to report sex abuse, failing to prevent sex abuse after having knowledge of it, or failing to train employees on sex abuse reporting protocol.
In most cases of school sex abuse, others within the school knew about the abuse or at the very least, heard or saw something which suggested that the abuse was occurring. It’s a given that students and teachers talk. Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey laws, where a school knew of or had reason to know of the abuse or failed to have a protocol for reporting abuse, the school or district may certainly face civil liability.
Here’s a list of just some of the entities which can be sued in school sex abuse cases in Pennsylvania or New Jersey:
- school administrators,
- school districts,
- before and after school care centers, or
- maintenance companies which hire cleaning crews/staff.
**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.