Cottage Grove Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex Offenses Involving Student Victim
Former Cottage Grove High School music teacher Gabriel Dickinson has been sentenced to 30 days in jail as part of a plea deal in a student sexual abuse case.
The 37-year-old teacher was convicted on four counts of third-degree sexual abuse, all misdemeanors, as part of a plea deal that dropped three felony charges of third-degree sodomy. Along with 30 days in jail, he’ll be on probation for three years.
According to prosecutor Joann Miller, the victim’s age at the time of the abuse and the type of sexual contacts made the crimes misdemeanors, which do not carry prison sentences.
Dickinson has also been ordered to surrender his teaching certification and license and to register as a sex offender. He also must complete sex offender treatment and may not have any contact with minors.
Last November, school administrators told an officer assigned to work at Cottage Grove High School that a teacher had been sexually abusing a student. According to charging documents, Dickson allegedly had sexual contact with a student younger than 15 years old, beginning in October 2016 and continuing until he was arrested.
Justice for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by School Employees
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com is a former prosecutor who now represents survivors of sexual violence in civil cases. We’ve asked him to discuss how school abuse survivors and their families can find justice through the legal system:
Sexual predators pose a major threat to our schools, as these predators often seek out positions of trust and authority that involve working with children. Our schools must make sure to take preventative measures in order to ensure that their students are not at risk of becoming victims. When a school employee sexually abuses students, it’s important to determine if the school is partially to blame for failing to prevent the abuse through negligence.
For example, a school would likely be considered negligent if they failed to run a background check and hired an employee with a history of sexual misconduct. In cases of negligence, abuse survivors and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school.
If you believe your child has been sexually abused by a school employee, the first priority should be telling the authorities. Additionally, we highly advise discussing your family’s legal options in the civil court system with an experienced sex abuse survivors attorney.
Location of Cottage Grove High School in Oregon