A Brooklyn public school teacher at the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism at Erasmus High School was convicted of repeated sexual abuse of a 16-year-old student. His conviction, as stated by NYDailyNews, includes the following: sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and other related charges.
Mervyn Affoon, 65-years-old abused the student about 15 times over three months. Affoon first abused the student in the classroom after all the other students left. Later he groped the same boy in the elevator. Following the initial assaults, Affoon invited the young boy to his home and had sex, including oral sex.
Affoon was removed from the classroom and retired in November 2017 after the charges surfaced. He now faces up to 20 years after rejecting a plea deal in 2018 that would have landed him one and a half to four years in prison.
Attorney contributor Laurence Banville, a sex abuse victim lawyer, represents victims of sexual abuse and their families in civil lawsuits. We’ve interviewed Laurence to share his thoughts regarding the legal options of victims sexually abused by teachers.
Laurence highlighted some key insights to demonstrate the legal options for victims of sexual abuse. Laurence highlighted the following: in education, schools and administrators have a legal duty to provide a safe environment and protect their students. Sexual predators are sometimes found working with children in schools as administration, teachers and coaches. The power dynamic of school employees and children impacts predators’ actions in these situations. Schools and administrations must protect students from sexual predators in their schools.
We asked Laurence: can you sue a school for sexual assault by a teacher or school employee? He replied, “we should ask if the school did everything possible to prevent sexual abuse when a teacher is charged with the sexual assault of a student. If the school did not try their best, they could be considered negligent. For instance, if prior complaints about sexual misconduct were reported against a teacher, and the teacher was still permitted to work a school could be considered negligent. Victims and their families should know that the student may have grounds for a lawsuit in negligence cases.”