Florida Sexual Assault Attorney Leon Walsh Discusses Sexual Assault & Battery in Schools
Lately, it seems as if it has become common to see news stories involving the arrest of teachers and coaches who are charged with sexual abuse and misconduct. A 23 year-old track coach at Mariana High School in Florida has been charged with sexual battery after admitting to having sexual relations with a 16 year-old female student who was a member of his track team. Earlier this month, the Jackson County Sherriff’s Office was informed that the coach, Te’Quayis LaVonte Brigham, was sexually involved with the student-athlete. The investigation revealed that Brigham and the student-athlete had sexual interactions numerous times, and that at least one sexual encounter took place at a track meet in Jacksonville, while others may have taken place on school grounds.
Although Brigham admitted to having sex with the student-athlete, he denied that he had a “secret” relationship with her, which is what the Jackson County Sherriff’s Office had been told.
The Department of Children and Families received a report that Brigham may have sexually assaulted a second student. Brigham has denied this claim.
Based on the evidence uncovered during the investigation, Brigham has been charged with sexual battery while in familial and/or custodial authority.
SEXUAL ABUSE BY EDUCATORS IS ON THE RISE
Approximately 500 educators in the U.S. were arrested in 2015 for sexual abuse. Of children in 8th through 11th grade, about 3.5 million students surveyed in 2015 reported having had physical sexual contact from an adult – most often a teacher or coach. The type of physical contact ranged from unwanted touching of their body to sexual intercourse.
In 2015, the Washington Post published an article that discussed how 80% of children ages 12 – 17 had cellular phones, and 94% had Facebook accounts. The author of the article stated that 35% of educators convicted or accused of sexual misconduct had used social media to gain access to their victims, or to extend the teacher – student relationship.
WHAT TYPES OF EDUCATORS ARE MOST LIKELY TO SEXUALLY ABUSE STUDENTS, & WHERE IS THE ABUSE LIKELY TO OCCUR?
According to research, most sexual abuse of students by adults occurs in the school, in empty classrooms, in offices, and in hallways. Sometimes the abuse happens in front of other students. It is not uncommon for a teacher to take a student into a storage room attached to a classroom and have sexual intercourse while the rest of the class is working at their desks.
In elementary schools, teachers who sexually abuse students are typically the ones that students most like and parents most trust. Compared to their non-abusing counterparts, these teachers have many more awards and are often recognized in the community – sometimes obtaining national awards. This popularity and trust often leads professionals to ignore allegations against the abusing teachers on the grounds that such outstanding and accomplished teachers would never sexually abuse students.
In late middle school and high school, teachers who sexually abuse students may be outstanding teachers, but they might also be mediocre. At this level, acts of sexual assault and abuse are less premeditated and planned and are more often a result of bad judgment and a sense of privilege.
Of all educators who sexually abuse children, the majority of abusers are teachers, followed by coaches. Teachers whose job descriptions include time with individual students are more likely to abuse than other teachers.
FLORIDA SEXUAL ASSAULT ATTORNEY LEON WALSH & THE MICHIGAN SEXUAL ASSAULT ATTORNEYS AT GREWAL LAW CAN HELP
The sexual abuse attorneys at Grewal Law / Church Wyble, P.C. have been fighting for the rights of victims for decades, and they have made it their mission to stop cover-ups and institutional involvement in sexual assault. The lawyers at Grewal Law / Church Wyble, P.C. are currently representing 111 Survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse and assault, and they understand what it takes to prevail against school systems, large universities and corporations. Please contact the firm’s experienced lawyers for information regarding sexual assault support groups, or for a free consultation to discuss your rights. All inquiries with our office are kept in the strictest confidence and are completely confidential. The sexual assault attorneys at Grewal Law / Church Wyble, P.C., are available 24/7 for their clients, and they personally speak with each and every Survivor that contacts the firm.
A Graduate from the Florida State University College of Law, Leon Walsh, Jr. spent several years in Florida as an assistant public defender as well as working for a civil litigation firm where he gained valuable first-chair jury trial experience in both state and federal courts. Mr. Walsh now works for Church Wyble, PC in Northville, Michigan where he focuses on medical malpractice and complex personal injury claims.