Bidwell Junior High School Spanish teacher was charged with eight counts of child molestation, according to U.S. News. The victims were under the age of 16.
Jennifer Smith, 50-years-old, was arrested on August 20th after a former student accused Smith of sexual abuse during the time the student attended Bidwell. Smith was arrested on multiple counts of sexually assaulting a minor.
Smith has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Attorney contributor Bobby Thompson represents victims of sexual abuse and their families in civil lawsuits. Below Bobby shared insight into the legal options of victims sexually assaulted by teachers.
Bobby said, “unfortunately, sexual predators are sometimes found working with children in schools as administration, teachers, and coaches. These predators use their power and trust to engage with students inappropriately. However, schools have a legal obligation to provide a safe learning environment and protect their students from sexual predators.”
We asked Bobby if a victim could sue a school if a teacher or school employee assaults them. He replied, “victims and their families should ask if the school did everything possible to prevent the abuse. If proper safety measures were not in place, the school could be considered negligent. An example of negligence is if a teacher was caught on camera touching a child inappropriately, but the school does not address the issue. Victims and their families should know, in cases of negligence, the school could be considered liable, and the victim may have grounds for a lawsuit.”