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Sexual abuse in Florida schools can be the basis for both criminal charges and civil claims. A recent example involves a Naples elementary school teacher convicted last month of more than 20 counts of child molestation (sexual assault of a child under 12). He’s now serving a 25-year prison term.
Based on the number of survivors (20), this was the second-largest case of sexual abuse by an educator in Florida since 2014. Last year, parents filed lawsuits accusing the Collier County School District of mishandling the sexual abuse allegations and failing to protect their children from years of molestation despite blaring red flags – including a specific allegation from a student to half a dozen employees three months before the offender was removed from school.
The district told The Naples Daily News that as soon as it learned of the allegations, the teacher was expelled from campus and later fired by the school board upon his arrest. The police say the teacher sexually abused young students from the day he started work until the day he was removed from the school – in the classroom, on school grounds, in the soccer field, in his car, and in the homes of children he tutored.
Sworn statements made to law enforcement indicate that six school employees – including teachers, administrators, and a school recess monitor – were informed of allegations made by a girl three months prior to the teacher’s removal from the school. The girl told the recess monitor that the teacher had sexually abused her friend. That information was then passed on to the five other employees. Yet it appears nothing was done, the NDN reported. In that three-month window, the police say, the teacher continued to abuse students – and even started molesting three more. Yet in response to a lawsuit filed by one of the survivor’s parents, the school insists it could not have known about the teacher’s “propensities” prior to the date of his arrest. Continue reading