It is shocking enough to see reports on the news that a teacher, school counselor or administrator has been accused of misconduct with a student, but when we imagine it happening to our children, it can be especially incredulous. The Chicago sexual abuse attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are committed to protecting your children’s rights when they have been harmed by the people who are trusted to help them learn and grow into responsible adults in a private or public school setting. If your child has become the victim of school sexual abuse, we would like the opportunity to conduct an investigation and to pursue the justice you and your child deserve.
Alarming Abuse Rates
When considering the fear and shame that dissuades children from reporting sexual abuse to their parents or the authorities, it is disturbing to know that there are 80,000 cases reported every year. Unfortunately, countless more cases have gone unreported because the victims felt too ashamed or afraid to report the abuse. A report released in 2000 also revealed that nearly 10% of students are subjected to some form of sexual abuse at some point throughout their education. This statistic means that 4.5 million students in the country are at risk.
It is essential to understand what can be considered sexual abuse, as it does not always require an actual physical act. Following are some of the actions that can be regarded as sexual abuse.
- Inappropriate sexual comments made by a teacher, counselor, coach or administrator. The comments can range from subtle come-ons to blatant harassment.
- Exposing students to pornographic images or attempting to photograph students in the nude.
- Spying on students while they are changing or showering before or after gym class or following sports practice.
- Making sexual contact with students or performing sexual acts, regardless of whether the student has consented to such actions.
- Sexual assault such as groping, grabbing or forced intercourse.
- Blackmailing students using threats to coerce them into performing sexual acts or acting inappropriately.
Claims and Awards for School Sexual Abuse in Illinois
Girl Receives $800,000 after School Sexual Abuse Incident
The victim in this affair was just sixteen years old. She went to Prosser Academy. One day, she was in a car with one of her teachers. He started to kiss and fondle her breasts. Then, the authorities found out and a case was filed. She sued the defendants for costs, emotional trauma, and other damages. The targets in this case were the teacher involved as well as the Chicago Board of Education. Her claimed harms included PTSD, medical bills (almost $100,000 worth), and similar items. The defendants could not really explain why the two were isolated in the first place. This made their case an uphill battle from the start. The defendants chose to settle rather than fight the matter in court. The teacher paid $20,000 and the Chicago Board of Education paid $780,000.
Man Brings Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse from His Infant Years
In Champaign, Illinois, a man brought a lawsuit for an incident of sexual abuse and assault that occurred when he was just two or three years old. The alleged abuse happened while he was at a preschool. One of the teachers abused him and then posted the event online. Later, the teacher was sent to jail for this and similar acts of child sexual abuse and pornography. The plaintiff here sued the teacher as well as the preschool. He claimed the school was negligent. He thought the school should have opened its floor plans, screened and supervised employees better, and protected the kids that went to school there. Since they did not, he said he suffered physical, mental, and sexual abuse as a direct result. He sought compensation for these injustices.
Mother Brings Lawsuit after Her Two Girls are Abused
This case only came to light after the perpetrator harassed one of the girls through a text message. The abuse came over a period of three years. The victims were two little girls, ages eleven and six. They attended a preschool together. The husband of the owner of that school accessed that facility as well as the kids’ home in order to sexually abuse them from 2011 until 2014. When the police finally found out, he was arrested and convicted to over twenty years in prison. The family of children sued on their behalf. They sought damages for the trauma, pain, and expense that his abuse caused them. In a private settlement, they obtained $698,692. Half of that total amount was for the harms of each child.
Evanston Township Reaches Settlement with Girls Alleging Abuse
Recently, four anonymous plaintiffs came forward and sued a teacher and the school district he worked in for sexual abuse. They said that the district should have known what was going on and that a music teacher abused them on a number of occasions. The key thing about this case was that the district stood up and vigorously defended itself. It said it had no knowledge and could not have reasonably expected that this was going on-if it was going on at all. Nevertheless, the district did see fit to settle with the plaintiffs. They are going to give $100,000 over the next ten years to fund programs designed to stop child sexual assault and abuse.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Our Illinois sexual abuse lawyers would like to point out that not all victims of sexual abuse come forward and in some instances, the student may be taking part in inappropriate activities willingly. This does not make it any more appropriate or legal. As parents, we worry about the safety of our children and may often feel that we are unable to protect them when they need it most. There are ways that you can detect the signs of abuse, however, so that you may launch an investigation to uncover any evidence of misconduct and seek justice from the person who is hurting your child. Here are some of the signs to look for when identifying sexual abuse.
- Suspicious and inappropriate text messages.
- Phone calls outside of school hours that seem inappropriate.
- Sudden behavior changes and withdrawal from social activities.
- Physical marks on your child’s body.
- Direct accusations of abuse.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to the aggressive pursuit of justice when a child has been sexually assaulted, molested or harassed by a member of his or her school’s staff. In addition to filing criminal charges against the offender, you may wish to hold the school itself liable for not taking the necessary measures to detect and prevent sexual abuse. If your child is the victim of this type of abuse, contact us to learn more about the legal options available to you during a free consultation.
It is essential to send a clear and loud message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated, which is why our Chicago sexual abuse attorneys will work tirelessly to hold the school responsible for your child’s abuse. By seeking the maximum compensation allowed by law, we can ensure that schools will take more appropriate preventative measures in the future to avoid similar judgments. Our attorneys work entirely on consignment, so you are also assured that you will never owe us a thing unless we can and do collect compensation on your behalf.