The Associated Press says that it has found over 2500 cases of sex abuse involving teachers as perpetrators over a five-year period.
Sexually abusing a child is a crime. In addition to trying a predator in criminal court, however, he or she can be held liable in civil court if the victim or his or her family is willing to file a personal injury lawsuit against the abuser. In certain instances, the school or the school district could also be held liable if they could have prevented the abuse from happening but acted negligently-thereby allowing the abuse to happen.
According to a recent AP investigation, many teacher-student sex abuse cases never get reported and the abusers will often have victimized more than one student. Over the course of its seven month investigation, the AP discovered that from 2001 through 2005, 2570 educators had their teaching credentials denied, revoked, sanctioned, or surrendered because of abuse incidents. At least 1801 of the reported cases involved young people. Over 80% of the victims were students. At least 50% of the educators were convicted for sex crimes connected to these sex abuse cases.
Congress says that about 4.5 million of the approximately 50 million students in American schools will likely be abused by a school employee during their time in school.
In one such incident, involving multiple allegations of abuse, Gary Lindsey finally lost his teaching license in 2004-40 years after he was fired from a teaching post for molesting a little girl. After that first reported incident, he was simply rehired at other schools until Jennah Bramow, now 20, sued the schools in Cedar Rapids Iowa for failing to protect her and other students from being sexually abused.
She first came forward with her complaint in 1995. He was forced to retire following her complaint and complaints by two other girls but kept his license until Bramow sued him for and won her sex abuse lawsuit. She was awarded $20,000.
Other victims who had complained about being molested by Lindsay had accepted settlement deals and signed confidentiality agreements. Many of them say that Lindsey was reprimanded by different principals for his behavior but the records were always filed away.
Teachers, coaches, counselors, psychologists, teaching assistants, superintendents, and principals are not allowed supposed to sexually abuse the students placed under their care. Unfortunately, some of them do. Rape, molestation, distributing pornography, engaging in lewd behavior and making a student watch, sodomy, verbal harassment, inappropriate kissing, touching or hugging, and getting involved in a romantic or sexual relationship with a minor are all forms of sex abuse.
AP: Sexual Misconduct Plagues US Schools, ABC News, October 21, 2007
Related Web Resources:
Teacher Sex ABuse: Hard to Predict, CBS News, February 15, 2007
Child Sexual Abuse, Medline Plus