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School Sexual Abuse

School Sexual Abuse

Santa Clara School Sexual Abuse Attorneys

Committed to fighting for victims of sexual abuse in schools in San Jose and throughout the Bay Area

When we drop off our children at daycare, school or college, we’re putting our trust into the hands of strangers. We have faith that these adults will provide them with knowledge, a safe space and protect them from harm. When that trust is broken and violated, lives change forever.

Our school system was put in place to educate our children and put them on a path to a successful future. However, recently, dark stories pop up in the news about teachers and staff sexually abusing children in their care. The Santa Clara sexual assault and abuse attorneys at Taylor & Ring have dedicated their practice to protecting the rights of survivors. If you or someone you love were victimized by an abuser at school, college or university, we can help you hold them accountable for their despicable actions.

Important statistics about sexual abuse in our schools

The organization RAINN maintains current statistics regarding sexual abuse in the United States. Every 92 seconds, someone in our country is sexually assaulted. The majority of sexual assault victims are under the age of thirty. And, because 93% child victims know their abusers, there’s a high chance that teachers and educators fall into this group.

It seems that every year, we hear more stories and accusations about sexual abuse and assault in schools – not just here in Santa Clara, but throughout the Bay Area and the rest of the country. In fact, the nonprofit Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation (SESAME) published some startling numbers in a 2014 report:

  • One in 10 students will experience school employee sexual misconduct by the time they graduate high school
  • 93% of these incidents occur in public schools
  • 50% of offenders had prior allegations made against them
  • A predatory teacher will be transferred to an average of three different schools before being reported to police (“passing the trash”)
  • One in three offenders had multiple victims

Our sexual abuse attorneys can help you build a case against the school staff, as well as the educational system that failed to protect you or your child.

Who is protecting our children?

Much like in cases of religious sexual abuse, both public and private schools often attempt to hide incidents of sexual assault and abuse, rather than address the actual problem. In fact, a United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) report showed that, in 11 out of 15 cases studied, schools allowed offenders with histories of predatory behavior to either continue or seek employment elsewhere. Worse, in at least six out of these cases, offenders used new positions at new schools to continue sexually abusing children.

The GAO blames this failure to keep our children safe on:

  • Improper guidance from the U.S. Department of Education
  • School districts that ignore or cover up complaints
  • Districts’ failure to perform proper and complete background checks
  • Inadequate or no training of school personnel
  • Failure to report suspected or witnessed abuse to law enforcement

If your child suffered sexual abuse at the hands of an educator or school employee, don’t feel like you have nowhere to turn. These statistics seem grim, but it’s important to understand you have the law on your side.

Under Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, any school that receives federal funding is required by law to investigate any claim of sexual abuse by an educator. They must act – address and put a stop to the behavior, as well as prevent it from happening again. California law also requires mandatory reporters (who can be anyone from a teacher to a school nurse to a principal) to report any suspicion of abuse or assault.

Do local and state Departments of Education properly monitor how their schools comply with these federal laws? Not always, and more and more children are needlessly hurt. This is where our Santa Clara sexual abuse attorneys will step in and fight for you and your family.

Sexual assault in Santa Clara and San Jose schools and universities

Sexual assault or abuse can happen anywhere from kindergarten all the way up to college. The perpetrator can be a teacher, professor, school employee or another student.

Sexual abuse or assault in schools may include things like:

  • Sexual harassment, nonconsensual sex or molestation perpetrated on the victim by a teacher or student
  • Consensual sex between two students or a student and a teacher that meets the requirements of statutory rape in California

Students with special needs

It’s also important to note that children with special needs are even more vulnerable to sexual abuse, as they may not understand what is happening, and may be unable to defend themselves or report the abuse. Although it may be unthinkable, special education teachers and aides can and do commit sexual abuse. And, a lack of supervision or proper training can result in special needs students abusing other students as well. Our lawyers have decades of experience protecting students with special needs.

University and college students

Sexual violence on college campuses is the number one crime of concern. Statistically, the number of college students who report sexual assault is much lower when compared to the actual rate of occurrence.

More than 11% of male and female students combined have been raped or sexually assaulted by force or incapacitation

More than 11% of male and female students combined have been raped or sexually assaulted by force or incapacitation. While the number of reported male victims is dwarfed by female victims who report an assault, men are less likely to come forward, so it stands to reason that those figures are much lower than the actual number of attacks.

The LGBTQ community on university campuses has a significantly higher rate overall, with 21% of students experiencing sexual assault.

Many college students are uneasy about making an official report to law enforcement for fear of retaliation by their attacker or even his or her friends, concern that the perpetrator would get into trouble, or the victim believed the police would not do anything about it.

When reports made through the proper channels on campus aren’t taken seriously, it leads to lower reporting rates. Students feel they aren’t believed, or there won’t be any consequences for the attacker. Reports are dismissed and brushed under the carpet to avoid putting the spotlight on campus safety, which has a direct correlation on enrollment – or the school’s financial bottom line.

Primary and secondary school children

Younger school-aged children are no safer from sexual assault than college students, or adults. Children used to be viewed as innocent beings who lack the capacity to inflict violence on one another. While we see confirmation in the news almost daily that contradicts this, it can still be difficult to come to terms with people of such young ages committing rape or sexual abuse on their peers or younger children.

School administrators have re-victimized children who found the courage to report a sexual assault by writing off the complaint as false based on nothing more than a victim’s facial expression or perceived mood of happiness. Title IV protections are currently designed to help students pursue sexual assault claims against their perpetrators, but there is a serious disconnect in K-12 schools. Those administrators are routinely uneducated about their obligations under federal law to investigate reports of sexual misconduct despite almost 50% of student reporting coming from their schools.

Counseling resources for Bay Area victims

Children and young adults who have experienced sexual assault or abuse will rightfully have difficulties coming to terms with being violated. Seeking help to move past such a personally violent act, can require several difficult steps, but there are resources available in Santa Clara and San Jose for everything from preserving evidence to dealing with the emotional fallout. Services available include:

Sexual assault medical forensic examsSanta Clara Valley Medical Center 408-885-5000
Exam Locations: Gilroy · San Jose
Sexual Assault AdvocateYWCA Silicon Valley 1-800-572-2782
(Serving North County and Central County)
www.ywca-sv.org
Community Solutions 1-877-363-7238
(Serving South County and San Benito County)
www.communitysolutions.org
Survivor ResourcesAdult/Adolescent SA Program 408-885-6466
Center for Child Protection 408-885-6460
District Attorney’s Office 408-299-7400
Child Protective Services 833-722-5437
Victim Services Unit 408-295-2656

Taking on the tough cases for our Santa Clara and San Jose children

There is no way to completely protect our children from sexual abuse or assault. The most we can do is teach them how to try to protect themselves and hope that they are never put into the position of needing to. What we can do at Taylor & Ring is hold their attackers accountable if an assault does occur, and seek restitution for your child and what he or she has been through. Talk to our Santa Clara sexual abuse lawyers today at 310-776-6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.

Contact Us310-209-4100