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Palmer Home for Children

The Palmer Home for Children Hutchinson College location in Columbus.

Former Palmer House Employee Sentenced For Child Sexual Abuse

A jury in Lowndes County convicted a former Columbus children’s home employee of sexually abusing three girls at the home in 2006. 45-year-old Seth Copes was a former house parent at the Palmer Home for Children from 2006 until 2013. He was accused of sexually abusing three children at the home – all of whom, now adults, testified against Copes in court.

Now-20-year-old twin sisters testified that Copes abused them after they moved to the home in 2006, when they were 7 years old. They testified that they were abused while living with Copes and his wife. This abuse was first reported in 2013 and Copes was indicted by a grand jury that year.

Another now-21-year-old woman testified that she was also sexually abused while living at the home with Copes.

Copes has been convicted of sexual battery and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Legal Recourse For Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

After a successful career as a sex crimes prosecutor, attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com now represents survivors of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. We’ve asked him for some input into the legal options available to survivors of child sexual abuse:

In cases of child sexual abuse, the abuser is often someone close to the victim. Common perpetrators include family members, family friends, and those with authority and supervision over kids, such as teachers, coaches, group home parents, etc. When someone in a position of authority sexually abuses a child, it’s crucial to make sure the offender is prosecuted and that the victim gets all of the support they need. Additionally, we must determine if any third parties (such as a school or organization) enabled the abuse to occur through negligence.

For example, a youth group home might be considered negligent for failing to report previous complaints of sexual misconduct by an employee or failing to run a background check and hiring an employee with a history of sexual misconduct. In cases that involve negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds to file a lawsuit.

If you or your child has been sexually abused by an authority figure or anyone else, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.

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About Paul Amess

Editor:

Paul is a staff editor who focuses on bringing you the most important legal news regarding cases of sexual assault, drunk driving, and preventable violence.

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