WE MUST SPEAK OUT ABOUT SEDUCTION AND SEXUAL ABUSE IN INDIANA SCHOOLS
“A Jeffersonville teen pleaded guilty Friday to molesting 20 children over 17 months while working as a teacher’s assistant at an elementary school and a Clark County YMCA.”
“A former assistant dive coach at a northwest Indiana high school faces four years in prison after reaching a plea agreement in a sexual misconduct case involving two female students.”
“A choir teacher in central Indiana has been arrested on one charge of child seduction.”
“A male high school student filed suit in federal court against IPS. He claimed he was sexually abused and harassed by his counselor, and some in the school were aware of the inappropriate relationship.”
“Former Warren Central Spanish teacher and coach faces two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of child solicitation for fondling or touching.”
“Indianapolis Public Schools pays $600K to settle counselor sex abuse lawsuits.”
Under Indiana State law, child seduction involves sexual conduct between a child care worker, such as a teacher over the age of 18 and a minor student. It encompasses conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual intercourse, deviate sexual conduct and any fondling or touching with the intent to arouse either the child or the adult.
Child seduction and sexual abuse is happening, right now, right in our own state of Indiana; the stories shown above all happened in the first half of this very calendar year!
As personal injury attorneys at Ramey & Hailey Law, our work includes helping victims of assault and abuse of all kinds. We find seduction cases in schools particularly tragic, because they involve the very people we trust to educate and train our children. The very leaders we trust to serve as mentors to our children are instead exploiting them.
Indiana House Bill 1079 passed in the spring of 2017, was designed to close gaps in the criminal screening process for school employees. The bill requires that:
- both public and private schools conduct expanded criminal history and child protection index checks on prospective employees
- schools check applicants’ references, including their most recent employer.
- current school employees undergo an expanded check every five years
- courts notify school officials when a person has been convicted of rape, trafficking, or child molestation.
- no school district, charter or accredited nonpublic school can establish a policy that delays or restricts the reporting of incidents of abuse
- every school must provide child abuse education to students in kindergarten through Grade 12
Seems these measures, implemented two years ago, aren’t having nearly the desired preventative effect. As an attorney, I frankly cannot imagine a personal injury greater than robbing a child of innocence and trust. In fact, according to the Encyclopedia of Psychology, when perpetrators of sexual abuse take advantage of young victims, the reactions on the part of the child might include shock, fear or disbelief, with long-term symptoms of anxiety, fear or even post-traumatic stress disorder.
“If a school employee has mistreated your child, the first thing you want to do is make sure the problem stops,” writes E.A. Gjelten in Lawyers.com. “After that, you may ask: Whom can I sue?”
But, why would you, as the parent of a child abused by an educator want to file a civil suit of your own against the school district in which the problem occurred? To receive compensation to help pay for the costs of medical and psychological treatment for your child. The unfortunate truth is that child sexual abuse increases a young person’s long term risk for mental, physical and behavioral health issues.
Our work as personal injury attorneys in Indiana is focused on helping parents get the financial help their children are going to need. We’re there to provide a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen, but we also know that the courage of parents and children to carry their cases to court can help some very sad stories have happier endings.