Los Angeles School Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Who is responsible when sexual abuse occurs at school?
When you place your child in a school, you put your trust in that institution and staff to keep your child safe. If the school fails to live up to that trust, we can help you seek appropriate compensation for the impact on your child and your family. Schools have the responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for all their students.
Although teachers and school officials are mandated by law to report any incidents of sexual abuse or suspected sexual abuse to the proper authorities, this does not always happen. Reports of misconduct may be swept under the rug without the pressure of further investigation.
Since their employees work closely with children, schools have a duty to carefully vet each and every potential employee, and to thoroughly investigate complaints regarding employees’ behavior. Schools that fail to conduct this due diligence must be held accountable for their negligent actions.
Schools also have an affirmative responsibility to supervise each and every child entrusted into their care.
Schools may attempt to protect their image or reputation by knowingly concealing evidence of sexual abuse perpetrated by teachers, coaches, or other employees. This type of deception is unconscionable and criminal. An experienced child sexual abuse attorney can help you file suit against both the perpetrator of the abuse and the school that overlooked or implicitly condoned it.
Making a claim against a school district
Taylor & Ring routinely represents clients whose children are/were enrolled, as well as clients who were themselves enrolled, in schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. We also represent clients in cases against:
- San Diego Unified School District
- San Francisco Unified School District
- Fresno Unified School District
- Long Beach Unified School District
- San Bernardino Unified School District
- Elk Grove Unified School District
If your child is enrolled in a private school, religious school, military school, charter school, or other public institution, we can help.
We really focused a lot on schools back [when we first started], and after that first big verdict and the resulting media storm, I said, “This will become the number one priority for schools to fix. This isn’t going to happen again. They’re going to see this verdict, and they’re going to put an end to this. There’s no way they’re going to allow this to happen in schools.” Here I am, 25 years later, and it’s still an epidemic. It’s very sad.
Some school districts, I will say, have done a phenomenal job educating and supervising, and really trying to prevent this from happening. I’ve never had to sue the same school district twice. Once we’re done with the case, a lot of districts change their policies, and increase their education of teachers and supervisors and administrators. It’s incremental change, but it’s really positive, and it’s fulfilling.
If your child was abused by an adult
As parents, we send our children to school secure in the knowledge that someone is looking out for them. To learn that your child was sexually abused by someone he or she trusted, and that the perpetrator’s actions may have been known and covered up by the school district – there are no words to describe that type of betrayal.
If your child was the victim of sexual abuse by an adult, Taylor & Ring can help. We have secured some of the largest multi-million-dollar awards in the state’s history on behalf of children who were sexually assaulted, abused, and exploited by:
- School administrators
- After-school program organizers and employees
- Maintenance workers/janitors
- School visitors
- Other parents
- School nurses
- School counselors
- Other school employees and personnel
Children with special needs may face a greater risk of being sexually abused
Sexual abuse is devastating for all children, and any child may fall victim to a predator, particularly in a school setting where he or she believes he or she is safe. According to the VERA Institute of Justice, statistics show that special needs children are three times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse in schools than other children, both from adult authority figures such as teachers and from other students.
Children with special needs may have a difficult time communicating to a trusted adult when abuse has occurred or testifying about the details of that abuse in court. They could lack the vocabulary or physical ability to explain what has happened, or they may not realize that they have been victimized – just like any other child in that position. For this reason, it is essential to hire a Los Angeles sex abuse attorney with experience in handling sexual abuse cases with young victims with special needs.
Taylor & Ring offers compassionate and sensitive representation on behalf of children who have:
- Physical disabilities, such as muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, chronic asthma, or multiple sclerosis
- Development disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, Autism, or dyslexia
- Behavior disabilities, such as ADD or bipolar disorder
- Sensory disabilities, such as blindness, visual impairment, or hearing loss
If your child was abused by another child
Our firm handles all manner of student-on-student sexual abuse cases, including:
What happens when the abuse is online?
If another student at your child’s school is sexually abusing or bullying your child online, the school may still be partially liable. It could depend on a number of factors, including whether or not the school knew that these actions were taking place, yet refused to report them, as per CANRA’s guidelines for mandatory reporters. The school may also be responsible if it has a zero-tolerance policy which it has refused to enact, or if the bullying, hazing, or assault took place on school grounds, or with the use of school computers.
If your child is a legal adult
We tend to think of K-12 students as minors, but many high school seniors are actually 18 when they graduate. What can you do, as a parent, if you discover that your 18-year-old child has been a victim of sexual abuse?
If the abuse occurred after your child had reached the age of majority, then he or she will need to file the lawsuit. If the abuse occurred before your child reached the age of 18, you may be able to file a lawsuit yourself.
Claims against universities, colleges, and institutions of higher learning
California has had its fair share of sexual abuse scandals at the college level. One of the more recent cases, involving former gynecologist George Tyndall, led to USC agreeing to pay $215 million to the women he abused.
If you or your child has been sexually assaulted on campus by a member of the faulty, a staff member, another student, a campus visitor, or anyone affiliated with the college or university in some way, the institution itself may be liable for damages.
Taylor & Ring’s sexual assault attorneys can represent you in trial, settlement negotiations, or in Title IX hearings. Contact us to learn more.
Contact our Los Angeles child sexual abuse attorneys today
Taylor & Ring has successfully litigated many high-profile cases involving sexual abuse in schools, helping to achieve justice for victims and protecting other children from dangerous predators. We have held both abusers and the educational institutions that shielded them accountable for their actions. If your child has been sexually abused at school, contact a lawyer at Taylor & Ring today for a free consultation by calling 310-776-6390.
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