Teacher-Student Sexual Abuse
In the last decade, reports of inappropriate sexual relationships between teachers and students have increased dramatically. While at one time most of these reported relationships involved male teachers, now many of the offending teachers are women, often those who are under 30. When discovered, those involved often claim that the relationships were consensual. In fact, nothing could not be further from the truth.
High School Teacher-Student Sexual Relationships are Wrong
These relationships involve minors, many of whom have never had an intimate relationship before. As a result, adult teachers can often easily manipulate students for their own self-fulfillment.
We are available to represent students involved in inappropriate sexual relationships with teachers, and will seek to hold teachers and school districts fully accountable for their wrongful actions.
Was the Teacher-Student Sexual Relationship a Crime?
All jurisdictions, including New York, have statutory rape laws, making it criminal for an adult to have sexual contact with a person under a prescribed age. Under law, the underage person does not have the legal capacity to consent, so in a criminal case, it does not matter that the underage person wanted the sexual conduct to occur. In addition to statutory rape laws, many states make it a crime for a high school teacher to have sex with a student while the student is in high school, even if the student is of age.
School District Liability for Teacher-Student Sexual Relationships, Abuse and Molestation
In addition to the possible recovery of damages from the teacher or other school employee committing the sexual relationship, abuse, or molestation, the school district may also bear civil liability. A school district can be held liable for wrongful and criminal behavior by a teacher under a number of legal theories. It may be negligent for not discovering or preventing inappropriate conduct, even if it does not have any actual knowledge of the sexual relationship. It may also be liable for negligent hiring, supervision, or retention of a teacher who the school district knew or should have known presented a risk for misconduct with students. Once we understand the facts of a case, we will be able to construct the appropriate theories for legal liability.
Title IX Liability for Inappropriate Teacher Student Relations
Federal law provides a potential legal remedy for victims of inappropriate conduct by a school employee. Schools may be held liable under Title IX, which prohibits sexual harassment in schools. Here, the law considers inappropriate relationships between a school employee and student as harassment.
For over a decade courts have found that public school officials may be held liable “for their deliberate indifference to reported behavior on the part of employees where students were sexually, physically, or verbally abused.”Where deliberate indifference is found, a victim may be entitled to money damages a where school officials failed to act on reports of an employee’s sexual harassment and abuse of students. Generally,under Title IX, the plaintiff must show that a school official with supervisory power to stop the abuse knew of the abuse and failed to stop it. Under Title IX liability school districts may be liable for damages resulting from emotional trauma caused by the employee’s conduct.
How Our Firm May be Able to Help Those Who Have Been Victimized by an Inappropriate Relationship with a Teacher or Other School Employee
If you or your son or daughter has been the victim of an inappropriate relationship with a teacher or other school employee, please call us. Our practice is devoted in part to stopping school violence, sexual misconduct, and bullying, and to recovering for our clients full compensation for all damages they have suffered.
In cases of inappropriate sexual conduct by teachers or other school employees, we are particularly mindful of the sensitive nature of these matters, and we will do our upmost to protect clients to the extent possible.