My Child Was Sexually Abused At School, What Should I Do?


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The majority of teachers and school administrators in Pennsylvania are dedicated to doing the best job they can in educating our children and keeping them safe from harm while they are at school. Unfortunately, there are incidents of school sexual abuse that happen more often than you think.

The problem of school sexual abuse can involve teachers, coaches, or other school personnel abusing students or students abusing their peers. Whatever the case, the victims of school sexual abuse often suffer devastating effects as a result of the abuse – often for the rest of their lives. Even worse, many victims choose not to tell, so the responsible parties are never held accountable for their actions.

Where Does School Sexual Abuse Happen?

Unfortunately, school sexual abuse happens in all types of educational institutions, including the following places:

Public Schools – The abuse may be perpetrated by teachers, coaches, other students, non-faculty staff, volunteers, or anyone else on campus. Public school sexual abuse cases can be challenging to prove, so hiring an attorney who has handled these types of cases is essential.

Private Schools – Students at private schools are also vulnerable to sexual abuse by potential abusers. Private schools may have additional incentives to sweep such incidents under the rug because their success depends on income, requiring a favorable reputation.

School Buses – Although many school buses now have video cameras to capture any issues, sexual abuse still happens as children are transported to and from school, on field trips, or other activities. Sadly, the video that is captured is often only saved for a short period of time, so it may not be available for use as evidence in a lawsuit.

Colleges and Universities – Most students at colleges and universities are not under 18, but they are still vulnerable to sexual abuse. Additionally, there are many activities and programs on campus for children under 18. Coaches, professors, other employees, and students all have access to children and adult students, which may mean that colleges or universities can be held responsible when sexual abuse occurs.

What To Do When School Sexual Abuse Occurs

If you believe that your child has suffered sexual abuse at school, the first thing to do is contact your local law enforcement. Sexual abuse is a crime, and perpetrators must be dealt with criminally. However, there are additional legal steps that you can take to seek further justice in civil courts.

If your child's school, school employees, administration, or other school personnel have been negligent and that negligence allowed the abuse to happen, then you must get legal advice from an experienced sexual abuse attorney.

A lawyer who handles these types of cases will be able to answer questions like:

  • What should I do if my child reported that a teacher sexually abused her?
  • What can I do if the school says they did nothing wrong?
  • I reported my child's sexual abuse to the school, but nothing's been done. What can I do?
  • How do I handle my child reporting a sexual abuse accusation against their coach?
  • Is the school liable for its teachers' actions?
  • What if my child was sexually abused by another student?

Holding Pennsylvania Schools Liable For Sexual Abuse

In most cases, if a school acts (or fails to act) in a manner that creates the risk of abuse for students or increases the risks of danger for students, it may be held liable for abuse that occurs. Proving that action can be complicated and difficult, which is why you need the expertise of an experienced sexual abuse attorney in your corner. Your attorney will have to prove that the school's actions willfully disregarded the safety or health of its students. This is challenging because the standards can vary widely depending on the type of school, the age of students, and other factors.

Suppose your child's school, school employees, administration, or other school personnel have been negligent and that negligence allowed the abuse to happen. In that case, you must get legal advice from an experienced sexual abuse attorney. Our attorneys have successfully litigated numerous lawsuits of this nature and have secured multimillion-dollar settlements for families like yours. In fact, Ross Feller Casey's attorneys represented the largest number of victims in the civil claims against Penn State University after former football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing young boys there. Overall, Penn State reached a $60 million settlement, which helped victims and their families recover financially from the tragedy.

Contact the law firm of Ross Feller Casey to schedule your free consultation. We're here to help, and we won't charge you a thing until there is a financial recovery in your case.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.