Private School Sexual Abuse
When you send your kids to school every day, you have little choice but to trust in the good nature of their teachers and other school staff. You expect that these adults have your children’s best interests in mind. As a parent, you anticipate certain difficulties. Maybe your son doesn’t get along with one of his teachers, or maybe your daughter thinks one of her teachers is too demanding.
Personality conflicts and similar issues are one thing, but what if the unthinkable happens? What if your child is sexually harassed or abused by a trusted adult? Although sexual misconduct between adults and children can occur in all types of schools, it is most prevalent in private boarding schools. Among other reasons, this is largely because children are away from the supervision of their parents for extended periods of time. Contact a Boston Sexual Abuse Attorney Today.At Least 8 New England Schools Facing Allegations of Abuse
Private school sexual abuse cases have been in the spotlight recently, especially in New England. A minimum of eight New England private schools are under investigation for allegations of abuse, after decades of cover-ups. Thanks in part to a Boston Globe investigation, the schools at the center of these allegations have launched their own investigations into the claims. According to the Globe’s report, teachers or staff in at least 67 schools have been accused of sexual misconduct since 1991. And more than 200 former students claim harassment or assault at the hands of their teachers, trusted advisors, and school staff.
One woman, Anne Scott, alleges that she was raped by an athletic trainer at Rhode Island’s St. George’s School in 1977. Following these accusations, Scott’s family filed a lawsuit, but the school responded by filing its own lawsuit. “They really turned hostile and were trying to come after that, deposing all our neighbors, deposing all my roommates, all community members,” said Scott. “So, I got shocked. I wasn’t as strong then, I think, to put it in context, as I am now. And it became a lot of pressure. I just said, no amount of money is worth tearing my family apart.When you are assaulted as a child and a victim of rape, you lose your voice. You lose your soul. You are sort of destroyed as a person, your confidence, your self-image. And the gag order just seals all that in.”Unlicensed Private School Staff Not Subject to Public Records Law
After Scott’s story was released, more St. George’s School students started to come forward. Todd Wallack, a member of the Globe’s ‘Spotlight’ investigation team, had the following to say about why private school sexual abuse is so easy to hide. “Generally, in public schools, teachers are required to be licensed, and they’re overseen by licensing agencies that can publicly discipline them and let other people be aware of potential problems.That isn’t true with private schools, which generally don’t have to license their educators. They’re also not subject to public records law. They’re not overseen by public school boards with open meetings laws.
So a lot of this information is kept secret. They are able to sign confidentiality agreements. And for that reason, it allows a lot of the abuse to remain secret. It potentially allows abusers to go to other schools.” In fact, that is exactly what happened with at least one of the accused. A St. George’s employee, George Thompson, was accused of inappropriate touching by about a dozen students. A few years ago, Thompson moved to another school, Taft. Even worse, Taft was given great recommendations about the accused molester.Altman & Altman, LLP - Sexual Abuse Lawyers Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas
If your child has been sexually harassed or abused by a trusted adult, or if you are the victim of sexual abuse by a doctor, former teacher, or any other professional, the skilled, compassionate legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have extensive experience with these highly sensitive cases. It is our goal to help you get through this emotionally challenging process as quickly and painlessly as possible. Although compensation cannot erase the pain and suffering you’ve endured, it can provide the breathing room and access to resources that can have an immensely positive impact on the healing process. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.