According to U.S. News, a Concord Community Schools District teacher faces numerous sex crime charges for inappropriate actions with multiple students. Andrew Cowells, 47-years-old, was a high school social studies teacher for the district.
Cowells allegedly asked students to let him touch them or to touch themselves in front of his class. He allegedly made sexual comments to students in his class and inappropriately touched students in the boy's bathroom, reported U.S. News. The victims who spoke with police were between 15 and 16-years-old during the incidents. Additionally, investigators reported finding sexually explicit photos of male teenagers on his phone.
Cowells has been charged with two counts of child solicitation, two counts each of voyeurism, two counts of battery, two counts of vicarious sexual gratification, and 10 counts of possessing child pornography.
Attorney contributor Jeff Gibson, an experienced sexual assault attorney, has worked with numerous victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. Below, Jeff provides insight on the legal options of victims who have been abused sexually by a teacher or school employee.
"Schools and administrations have a legal obligation to provide a safe learning environment to their students and uphold their safety. Across the country, we have unfortunately seen numerous cases of teacher sexual assault occurring in schools. Sadly, these predators often seek out positions of power and trust in school environments to abuse students sexually. As a result, schools and administrations must do everything possible to prevent the hiring of predators and ensure the safety of their students. Schools should implement adequate safeguards to uphold safety. Examples of safeguards include cameras, guards, background checks, staff reporters, and easy reporting systems."
"When a student is abused sexually by a teacher, the victim and their family should question if the school did everything possible to prevent the abuse from occurring. If a school does not have adequate safeguards, it might be deemed liable in sexual abuse cases. Often, sexual abuse by a teacher occurs due to negligence by a third party, for example, an administration. An example of negligence is if misconduct was reported, but the teacher and the report were not properly investigated. Victims and their families should secure the services of an experienced sexual abuse attorney to learn all their legal options. In negligence cases, victims and their families should know they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit and receive monetary compensation for damages."