5 Steps to Take After Your Child Has Been Sexually Abused by a National City, CA, Teacher

If you have questions or your child has been sexually abused by a teacher, give us a call at 949-409-0055 or request a free, no-obligation consultation here. We have been proudly servicing clients throughout Costa Mesa, California, and the surrounding areas.

It's every parent's worst nightmare. You drop your child off at school, and they come home telling you that their teacher has been sexually abusing them. Unfortunately, this type of abuse is more common than you might think.

In fact, our California child sexual abuse lawyer says, a recent study found that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys have experienced sexual abuse from a teacher or other adult working at their school. Recently, a similar case took place at a National City, California school involving a teacher and a sixth-grade student.

The National City, California teacher faces 15 charges for an 'inappropriate relationship' with the 13-year-old. This is why it's so important to be proactive in protecting your child from sexual abuse. 

child sad sitting outside of the school in California

Child sexual abuse (CSA) refers to the sexual behavior of any person involving a minor and may or may not involve force. 

Child sexual abuse is defined as: "Sexual abuse is any forced, coerced, unwanted sexual act including fondling and intercourse perpetrated against a child by an adult or older youth." (Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, 2018). In addition, the person could be an adult or older youth who is over 18, in his 20s or 30s. Sexual abuse may involve incest (sexual contact between family members) and statutory rape (unlawful sexual acts with a minor). 

Sexual Predators at School

Most sexual predators are someone the child knows and trusts. This could be a teacher, coach, or other adult working at the school.

Many times, sexual abuse from teachers occurs when there is a power imbalance between the teacher and student. The teacher may take advantage of the fact that they are in a position of authority to exploit the child. Additionally, predators often target children who are vulnerable or have low self-esteem. They may try to gain the child's trust by being overly friendly or giving them special attention. For example, a piano teacher may take music lessons one-on-one.

Over time, the predator may try to isolate or "groom" their victim by drawing them into a closer relationship via social media or one-on-one contact, away from others. Eventually, the predator may begin to threaten or intimidate the child into keeping them silent.

5 Things to Do After Your Child Faces Sexual Abuse by a California Teacher

  1. Report physical sexual contact from an adult. Usually a teacher or coach, while in school. Children can report unwanted touching, forced kissing and hugging, oral/genital contact, etc. 
  2. Contact an experienced sexual abuse attorney immediately. Do this once you notice the warning signs and believe an adult is behaving inappropriately. 
  3. Take note of the child's behavior. A child displaying knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior.
  4. Security cameras. Many schools have security cameras in hallways, cafeterias, and athletic facilities. You or your personal injury attorney may be able to requisition a tape showing exactly how your child’s injury occurred.
  5. Witness statements. If your complaint moves to trial, having witnesses ready to testify is critical. Finding impartial witnesses—like an admin or school nurse—can be of immense assistance.

How to Protect Your Child From Sexual Predators at School

It's important for parents to be aware of any red flags that may indicate that their child is sexually abused by a teacher or other school employee.

Some of the warning signs include:

  • Being withdrawn from normal activities such as going to school; playing with friends, and participating in extracurricular activities.
  • Having unexplained injuries; such as bruises or torn clothing that the child won't explain.
  • Refusing to participate in normal activities; or participating excessively
  • Having lots of internet activity; particularly with strangers
  • Sudden mood changes; such as becoming angry or hostile
  • Choosing to spend time alone with the teacher; or other school employees
  • Having unexplained financial problems. I.e., giving their allowance to the abuser

If you suspect your child is being sexually abused by a teacher talk to the child and seek legal help immediately. There are many steps California child injury attorneys can take to get justice for your child.   

Lawsuits against teachers or principals who sexually abuse a student are generally based on a teacher or principal's negligent hiring and supervision that allowed a perpetrator to become sexually involved with the student. A school could be negligent if it fired an employee for sexual misconduct with a minor, even if that employee transferred to another school.   

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law