Your Legal Rights if Your Child is a Victim of School Teacher Sex Abuse
In California, allegations of school teacher sex abuse more than doubled in 2014. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that, since 2008-2009, the number of child abuse complaints investigated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing had jumped up by 70%. In 2013, the CCTC blocked the credentialing of 1,475 teachers due to sexual misconduct. California now ranks third in the nation for sex abuse complaints against educators.
It’s a sad fact that school teachers and counselors sometimes take advantage of their close relationships with children in order to molest them, sometimes even on school grounds. School officials and teachers are mandated by state law to report signs or suspicions of child sex abuse. Yet school districts and other educational institutions may go to great lengths to protect their reputations, often attempting to bury claims of sexual abuse by teachers or staff members.
Any form of childhood sex abuse is traumatic and hurtful, but psychological harm increases a hundredfold when the abuser is someone the child trusts, like a teacher or school counselor. Even when confronted with numerous complaints regarding the abuser’s behavior, unwitting principals, administrators, and school district officials may simply give offending teachers a verbal or written warning and allow them to go back to working with children.
If your child has become a victim of school teacher sex abuse, there are several things you can and should do:
- Keep your temper. If you become visibly angry, your child may believe that he or she is somehow at fault. You never want your child to get the idea that they are to blame for being abused. You should not shift blame onto your own shoulders, for that matter. Molesters are typically experienced at grooming before they sexually abuse them. Above all, resist the urge to confront the accused molester directly. This can create a sticky legal situation and may even endanger you or your child.
- Trust your child. Children almost never speak falsely about being sexually molested. Don’t let doubt enter your head, and make sure that your child knows you believe him or her. Hug them, pat them on the back, and tell them that they did a brave thing by confessing what happened. Tell them you believe them and that you’ll talk to someone who can help.
- Get the basic facts. Refrain from subjecting your child to an interrogation; the police will handle that. Ask your child enough questions for you to grasp what transpired. Your child probably feels terrified, guilty, ashamed, or otherwise emotionally distressed. It took a tremendous amount of bravery to come forward and tell you about being abused. Don’t be demanding or brusque; be gentle and easy.
- Get in touch with authorities. If your child tells you that he or she is a victim of school teacher sex abuse, call police immediately. Don’t imagine that the problem will “just go away”: predators will go on molesting children until stopped by the authorities. Call police, and then step back and allow them to do their jobs: don’t hover in the background, correct your child’s testimony, or interfere in the law enforcement process. Just be there to comfort your child when it’s over and they have finished reliving their nightmarish experience for detectives.
- Get further help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn to for advice or help, get in touch with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1.800.843.5678. You may also utilize any of the suggestions on Estey Bomberger’s child molestation victims’ resources page. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, either—this is an extremely stressful time, and you should be aware of how that stress is affecting you physically and emotionally. Practice good self-care.
The law firm of Estey Bomberger has thousands of hours of experience litigating for child sex abuse victims and their families. It’s our job to secure a fair settlement from the perpetrator and his or her enablers. We can get you the financial compensation you deserve. Money doesn’t change what was done to your child, but you deserve the financial resources to be able to deal with the lifelong effects of school teacher sex abuse.
Has your child been victimized by a predator at his or her school? If your little boy or girl has become the victim of school teacher sex abuse, you need immediate, experienced legal counsel to preserve your rights. The award winning school teacher sex abuse attorneys at Estey Bomberger will advise you on the next steps in the litigation process and get you a fair settlement. Visit childmolestationvictims.com or dial 1.800.925.0723 for a confidential and free consultation.