Last Update: 7/13/2020
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.
Bobby Thompson is an experienced sex crime attorney in California who 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 middle school sex abuse at the hands of 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. Sexual predators are commonly found working in these fields because they see it as an opportunity to exploit their position of authority to commit such terrible acts 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. 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,” stated Mr. Thompson in a recent interview.