Ex-Janitor From Torch Middle School Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison
The former Torch Middle School janitor accused of sexually assaulting 10 girls on the school’s campus has been sentenced to 14 years in state prison, says the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
60-year-old Michael Anthony Barry pleaded no contest on November 8 to five counts of lewd acts upon a child, five misdemeanor counts of child molesting, and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Barry worked as a janitor at Torch Middle School for 16 years before his arrest on July 6, 2017.
The victims ranged in age from 10 to 12 years old. The abuse occurred on campus during school hours between August 2016 and May 2017. The first victim came forward in May 2017, which led detectives to discover more victims. Barry eventually turned himself in and was arrested.
The incidents of sexual abuse occurred at the school during school hours.
Legal Justice For Victims of School Employee Sexual Abuse
Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now represents survivors of sexual abuse as an attorney in civil lawsuits. Here are some of his thoughts on how the legal system can help survivors of sexual abuse committed by school employees:
In any field that involves working with children, it’s crucial for employers to take precautionary measures in order to make sure no one dangerous is allowed around kids. Sadly, sexual predators are often drawn to these fields, as they see an opportunity to exploit their positions of authority and trust in order to commit heinous crimes of sexual abuse. Background checks and careful supervision policies can help reduce the risk of children being harmed in schools and other settings. But sometimes, schools, daycares, and other organizations involving kids are negligent in a way that fails to prevent sexual abuse.
When a child is sexually abused by a school employee, there are many important things to consider in the aftermath. The perpetrator must be arrested and prosecuted, the victims must get all of the support they need, and we also must determine if the school’s negligence enabled the abuse to occur. In cases that involve negligence (such as a failure to run a background check), the victims and their families may have grounds to file a lawsuit.
If you believe that your child has been sexually abused and you’ve already contacted the police, consider speaking to an experienced sexual abuse victims attorney to learn more about your family’s legal options.