Last week, Chicago police arrested a former worker at Bell Elementary School for allegedly sexually abusing a student at the school. 22-year-old Quinten Hawthorne is charged with aggravated sexual abuse and sex exploitation. According to Chicago police, Hawthorne inappropriately touched a 12-year-old girl several times between November 7th and 21st of this year.
Hawthorne was an employee of a company called “Right to School”, which Bell Elementary has hired for after-school and recess monitoring services at the school. He was fired after the charges were officially filed.
According to a report by WGN 9, Right at School says they’re fully cooperating with investigations by Child Protective Services and the Chicago Police Department.
Brian Kent is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now serves as a civil attorney, representing survivors of sexual violence and helping them find justice through lawsuits. For those wondering, “can I sue for being sexually abused at school?” we’ve asked him to share some input concerning the legal options available to those who have been sexually abused by teachers, coaches, and other school employees:
Every parent deserves the security of knowing that their children are safe during the school day. But tragically, it’s common for sexual predators to seek out employment in schools and other areas that involve working with children, where they’ll have the opportunity to commit awful crimes against vulnerable students. When this happens, it’s important both prosecute the abuser and if applicable, to hold the school accountable for failing to prevent the abuse.
For example, a school might be considered negligent for allowing abuse to occur if they failed to report allegations of sexual misconduct to law enforcement or failed to run a background check before hiring a new employee. When negligence is involved in a case of student sexual abuse, the victims and their families may have the right to file a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a school employee, you can find justice for the suffering your family has gone through. Contact one of our experienced sexual abuse survivors attorneys to learn more about your family’s legal options.