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March 10th, 2014

School, Teacher Sex Abuse & Assault – An Ongoing Problem

The problem of sex abuse in school settings is a major problem in this country. This problem has always persisted, but only recently came to light due in part to the notorious Sandusky Penn State school sex abuse scandal which cast a light on Pennsylvania for over a year.

Teachers and other school employees like principals, coaches, teachers’ assistants, etc., hold a special power over students.  Coupled with oftentimes unrestricted access to children, this special power is one of the reasons why school employees commit sexual abuse. Whether it’s the sexual abuse of an elementary student or older high school student, sex abuse in schools is a major, ongoing problem. Below is a summary of some recent, disturbing national headlines about the problem.

Related: School & Daycare Liability for Negligent Supervision of Students Resulting in Sex Abuse

Teacher Sentenced for Sex Abuse

Last month, an Oregon middle school teacher was sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison for sexual abuse. While no students of the school were involved, the victims were under the age of 18. What is troubling is that the acts occurred in September 2013. This indicates that sex abuse by teachers continues to be ongoing, despite increased media attention about the problem.

Music Teacher Pleads to Sex Abuse of 9 Year Old Student

Just after the New Year, a NY music teacher admitted to sexually abusing a 9 year old girl, a student. The teacher gave private, in home lessons and was caught inappropriately touching the student. The teacher pled guilty in exchange for a 2 year stint in prison followed by 5 years of probation.

Teacher Admits to Possessing Child Porn

Also this year, a high school teacher in Texas pled guilty to possessing child pornography. While there was no evidence the teacher sexually abused any students, the teacher apparently downloaded the images sometime in 2013. He is scheduled to be sentenced this summer.

Related: The Problem of Sex Abuse in Schools Begins with the School Itself

Are Schools Liable When a Teacher Commits Sexual Abuse?

In many cases of sex abuse in a school setting, such as a teacher who sexually abuses a student, the school may face liability where there is evidence that the school either knew or should have known about the abuse and failed to take appropriate action.

The reality is that in many cases of school sex abuse, especially those involving teachers, coaches or principals, others at the school had knowledge of the abuse, but simply failed to take action. Read more about civil liability in school sex abuse situations.

School Sex Abuse Lawyer in Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan handles school sex abuse cases in the Northeast area with offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.  Attorneys at the firm are licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In addition, the firm has the resources and experience to handle school sex abuse cases in all states and welcomes calls from local counsel about potential cases. Click To Call


  • www.kgw.com, Reynolds teacher sentenced for sex abuse
  • newyork.cbslocal.com, Music Teacher, Former School Owner Admits to Molesting Girl
  • www.woai.com, Former San Antonio teacher admits to kiddie porn

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