Were You a Victim of Sexual Abuse at School?
Every child in America has the right to a good education. We, as parents, trust that the teachers and staff at the schools our children attend have the best interests of our kids in mind. Almost always that is in fact the case.
Tragically, however, there are a few educators who violate this trust and have sexually assaulted children. When that occurs, not only must the teacher be held responsible but also the school needs to be held responsible if it allowed the abuse to occur. At Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney P.C. in Bridgeport, we have settled a number of cases against private, parochial and public schools and are actively pursuing a case against a public high school.
Sexual abuse in schools is far more prevalent than people realize. If you have been abused, you are not alone and help is available. Call our office at 203-212-9075 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss what happened.
Challenges With Reporting School Abuse
Victims frequently have difficulty reporting abuse because of the guilt and shame that they feel. It is not uncommon for some victims to doubt that abuse has even taken place because their abusers have groomed them into believing that they were in a consensual relationship or they somehow attracted this attention. Others may feel helpless because of fears that nobody will believe them.
A study referenced in The Boston Globe estimated that only six to 10 percent of students report abuse by teachers and other educators. Abuse can occur anywhere at any age, including:
Protection From Retaliation
Even when students or other educators do report sexual abuse, they may face an uphill battle to obtain justice. Many students have been retaliated against by the schools. Retaliation efforts have included formal disciplinary action as well as expulsion.
New England private schools: The Globe Spotlight Team for The Boston Globe uncovered multiple instances of retaliation against students who were sexually abused or employees who reported the abuse. The following is a list of schools in Connecticut identified by the Globe Spotlight Team:
- Assumption Catholic School (Our Lady of Assumption School), Fairfield, Connecticut
- Brunswick School, Greenwich, Connecticut
- Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, Connecticut
- Eagle Hill School, Greenwich, Connecticut
- Forman School, Litchfield, Connecticut
- The Glenholme School, Washington, Connecticut
- The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Connecticut
- Indian Mountain School, Lakeville, Connecticut
- The Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, Connecticut
- Miss Porter’s School, Farmington, Connecticut
- Notre Dame Catholic High School, Fairfield, Connecticut
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Waterbury, Connecticut
- Pomfret School, Pomfret Center, Connecticut
- St. Thomas More School, Oakdale, Connecticut
- St. Joseph’s School, Shelton, Connecticut
- St. Stanislaus, Meriden, Connecticut
- Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut
- The Academy at Mount Saint John, Deep River, Connecticut
- Westover School, Middlebury, Connecticut
- St. Lawrence School in West Haven
- St. Anthony’s in Danbury
- Hopkins School in New Haven
- Villa Maria School in Stamford
- Stamford Board of Education
- The Town of Trumbull
- Boys & Girls Village in Milford
- The Children’s Center of Hamden and The Child and Family Guidance Center in Bridgeport
Retaliation can be difficult to prove. Victims are often selected for vulnerabilities such as family problems or learning disabilities. Victims may develop substance abuse issues or have other psychological problems. When they act out, they are often disciplined by the school.
We are familiar with the retaliatory techniques used by the school, and our lawyers know what it takes to build a successful retaliation case.
Discreet Legal Counsel for Victims of Sexual Abuse at School
We understand the concerns of individuals and families about reporting sexual abuse. We are adept at protecting the privacy interests of our clients while holding abusers accountable. Our attorneys are experienced, compassionate and professional when representing our clients. We create an environment where clients can feel safe and confident in our ability to see that justice is done.
Child Sexual Abuse Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Prove a Molestation Case?
A. Child sexual abuse can take many forms and be difficult to prove, especially if the physical injuries are no longer present. However, many physicians and behavioral specialists are able to spot the warning signs of sexual abuse in children and can help build a strong case against the abuser. Our lawyers are experienced in working with the right experts to help with your claim.
Can You Sue a Teacher for Sexual Abuse?
A. Yes. Teachers can be held liable in a civil claim for sexual abuse against minor students. Like with all civil claims for child sexual abuse, it is important to work with an attorney right away to make sure all evidence is collected and documented to help build your case.
What Are My Legal Rights if I Was Sexually Abused as a Child?
A. Our lawyers represent victims who were sexually abused as children (under the age of 18). The law only allows victims to bring a claim up until the age of 48. Do not wait to learn about your legal options if you were the victim of sexual abuse as a minor.
Why Choose Us?
What is the statute of limitations with regard to filing a sexual abuse claim?
A. Victims who claim damages for sexual abuse, sexual assault or sexual exploitation as a child can file a claim up to 30 years past the age of abuse (typically until the age of 48) in Connecticut.
However, if you claim damages as a result of being sexually assaulted as an adult, then you have a much shorter time period in which to file a lawsuit. Typically, you have three years from the date of the assault to file against the perpetrator for his or her intentional acts and two years from the date of the assault to file against any other person or entity (e.g., perpetrator’s employer) who may have been negligent in allowing the perpetrator to have contact with you.
If there is a criminal case presently pending against the perpetrator, can I still file a civil suit?
What is the difference between criminal and civil cases? Is there a different burden of proof?
The perpetrator is now dead. Can I still file a claim?
I do not want my identity revealed. Is there a way that I can file a claim and remain anonymous?
Who are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse?
Any person so identified who in the course of his or her employment or profession has reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or has been inflicted with non-accidental injuries or is at imminent risk of serious harm must report or cause a report to be made in accordance with state law. Violation of the law will result in a monetary fine and required participation in an educational and training program. See Connecticut General Statutes Sections 17-101(b); 17a-101a.