It’s a tragic reality that many students suffer sexual abuse at the hands of their teachers. New school teacher molestation cases arise on a consistent basis, and learning that a child has suffered sexual abuse is any parent’s worst nightmare. It’s vital for parents to recognize the signs of school teacher molestation and know their options for legal action. If your child has been molested by a teacher, contact the skilled and compassionate teacher sexual abuse lawyers at Estey & Bomberger today.
Signs a Teacher is Molesting a Child
Child abusers are notorious for grooming and intimidating their victims. Often, a teacher who sexually molests students will encourage sexual discussion or make sexual innuendos to encourage a potential victim to drop his or her guard. If a teacher consistently abuses a student, he or she will likely threaten the child if he or she seeks help or reports the abuse.
A few warning signs that a teacher may be grooming a child include:
- a teacher consistently rewarding a specific child more so than others
- giving a child unwarranted gifts or attention
- wanting to spend time during lunch, recess, or after school alone with the child
- being secretive about their after school activities with the child
- offering to give the child rides home or getting involved in their personal life
- attending sporting events or activities outside of the classroom to develop a closer bond to the child
It’s vital for parents to be vigilant concerning their children’s behaviors. If you notice a sudden change in your child’s demeanor, pay close attention and try to encourage your child to tell you what is bothering them. Sudden behavioral changes can be normal parts of growing up, but you should always investigate any changes to ensure they aren’t a reaction to abuse. For a full listing of warning signs of child molestation click here.
Children who suffer sexual molestation may not understand what is happening to them, and may act out in various alarming ways. If your child displays a sudden interest in sexual subjects or sexually charged speech, this could be an indication that they have experienced abuse. Additionally, if your child suddenly becomes withdrawn, emotionally unpredictable, or seems to want to avoid going to school, these could be signs that he or she is scared of a teacher who has sexually abused him or her.
Last year, the state of Georgia had 12 incidents of teachers sexually abusing students as of May, 2016. Investigators report that social media and private messaging helped cultivate inappropriate relationships between predatory teachers and their targeted students. Additionally, Texas had the highest rate of sexual assaults by teachers in 2016, a figure brought to light after the Alexandria Vera case. Ms. Vera was a Houston teacher who allegedly became pregnant through her relationship with a 13-year-old student. In 2016, Texas had 116 accusations and convictions of teacher related sexual abuse.
What to Do if You Expect Your Child Has Been Molested by a Teacher
No parent wants to believe a teacher has molested his or her child, but it’s important to remember that children almost never lie about these situations. If your child reports molestation to you, it’s imperative to show them that you believe and support them, and that they did the right thing by telling you. Never cast doubt on your child’s story or make them feel as though they did something bad. Depending on the child’s age, it can be extremely difficult to help them make sense of what happened, but there are many resources available to help victimized children and their families cope with these situations.
It can be very difficult for parents to keep themselves from flying into a rage upon learning the news their children have suffered sexual abuse. However, attempting to confront the offender could damage a potential lawsuit, and may even put you and your children at risk. The best action you can take is to report the abuse to the police, and contact a school teacher molestation attorney.
How Can a Teacher Sexual Abuse Attorney Help?
At Estey & Bomberger, our child sexual assault lawyers we believe that the sexual abuse or molestation of children is abhorrent, and we work with clients to hold teachers accountable when they molest students. A school teacher molestation case can be emotionally devastating for families, but connecting with the right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome. Reach out to the team at Estey & Bomberger if you have questions about a case, and we’ll be glad to let you know how we can help.
Your Legal Rights if Your Child is a Victim of Molestation by a Teacher
In California, allegations of school teacher sexual abuse more than doubled in 2014. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that, since 2008-2009, the number of child abuse complaints investigated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing had jumped up by 70%. In 2013, the CCTC blocked the credentialing of 1,475 teachers due to sexual misconduct. California now ranks third in the nation for sex abuse complaints against educators.
It’s a sad fact that school teachers and counselors sometimes take advantage of their close relationships with children in order to molest them, sometimes even on school grounds. School officials and teachers are mandated by state law to report signs or suspicions of child sexual abuse. Yet school districts and other educational institutions may go to great lengths to protect their reputations, often attempting to bury claims of sexual abuse by teachers or staff members. Our teacher sexual abuse lawyers have handled large scale cases of institutional child abuse in the educational setting and are on hand to help you and your child hold the responsible parties accountable.
Any form of childhood sex abuse is traumatic and hurtful, but psychological harm increases a hundredfold when the abuser is someone the child trusts, like a teacher or school counselor. Even when confronted with numerous complaints regarding the abuser’s behavior, unwitting principals, administrators, and school district officials may simply give offending teachers a verbal or written warning and allow them to go back to working with children.
If your child has become a victim of school teacher or counselor sexual abuse, there are several things you can and should do:
- Keep your temper. If you become visibly angry, your child may believe that he or she is somehow at fault. You never want your child to get the idea that they are to blame for being abused. You should not shift blame onto your own shoulders, for that matter. Molesters are typically experienced at grooming before they sexually abuse them. Above all, resist the urge to confront the accused molester directly. This can create a sticky legal situation and may even endanger you or your child.
- Trust your child. Children almost never speak falsely about being sexually molested. Don’t let doubt enter your head, and make sure that your child knows you believe him or her. Hug them, pat them on the back, and tell them that they did a brave thing by confessing what happened. Tell them you believe them and that you’ll talk to someone who can help.
- Get the basic facts. Refrain from subjecting your child to an interrogation; the police will handle that. Ask your child enough questions for you to grasp what transpired. Your child probably feels terrified, guilty, ashamed, or otherwise emotionally distressed. It took a tremendous amount of bravery to come forward and tell you about being abused. Don’t be demanding or brusque; be gentle and easy.
- Get in touch with authorities. If your child tells you that he or she is a victim of school teacher sex abuse, call police immediately. Don’t imagine that the problem will “just go away”: predators will go on molesting children until stopped by the authorities. Call police, and then step back and allow them to do their jobs: don’t hover in the background, correct your child’s testimony, or interfere in the law enforcement process. Just be there to comfort your child when it’s over and they have finished reliving their nightmarish experience for detectives.
- Get further help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn to for advice or help, get in touch with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1.800.843.5678. You may also utilize any of the suggestions on Estey Bomberger’s child molestation victims’ resources page. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, either—this is an extremely stressful time, and you should be aware of how that stress is affecting you physically and emotionally. Practice good self-care.
The law firm of Estey Bomberger has thousands of hours of experience litigating for child sex abuse victims and their families. It’s our job to secure a fair settlement from the perpetrator and his or her enablers. We can get you the financial compensation you deserve. Money doesn’t change what was done to your child, but you deserve the financial resources to be able to deal with the lifelong effects of school teacher sex abuse.
Has your child been victimized by a predator at his or her school? If your little boy or girl has become the victim of school teacher sex abuse, you need immediate, experienced legal counsel to preserve your rights. The award winning school teacher sexual abuse attorneys at Estey Bomberger will advise you on the next steps in the litigation process and get you a fair settlement. Dial 1.800.925.0723 for a confidential and free consultation.