On Wednesday, November 28, police in Florissant arrested 35-year-old Deonte Taylor and charged him with 3 counts of sodomy on a 7-year-old boy. Taylor is a former teaching assistant at Lusher Elementary School, where the alleged assault occurred. Police say that the incident happened in November 2015.
On November 13, 2015, Taylor allegedly took the boy from his classroom and brought him into an empty classroom, where he sexually assaulted him. Court documents say that Taylor's DNA was discovered on the boy's body and clothing.
Taylor is being held on $250,000 cash-only bail.
In a prepared statement, a spokeswoman for Hazlewood School District said that this incident was immediately reported to police in 2015 and that Taylor was fired immediately.
Attorney contributor Reed Martens specializes in helping survivors of sexual abuse find justice and support in civil court. We have asked him for some insight into the legal options available to those who have been sexually abused at school:
As parents, the safety of our children is always our top priority. But unfortunately, many positions that involve working with and watching over kids can attract sexual predators who abuse their positions of trust and authority in order to commit heinous crimes of sexual abuse. We often see this in the news when teachers, coaches, and other school employees are arrested for sexually abusing students.
Survivors of sexual abuse go through unimaginable trauma. It's crucial that we make sure they find the justice and support they deserve. Law enforcement and the criminal justice system can help with this by arresting and prosecuting the offender, but these parties often fail to directly address the needs of victims. These victims can also find justice against both the perpetrator and third parties who may have failed to prevent the abuse by filing a civil lawsuit.
Schools can be held liable for sexual abuse by employees if the school's negligence played a role in enabling the abuse. For example, a school might be considered negligent for failing to believe previous reports of sexual misconduct, instead allowing the accused to continue working. This is just one of many common examples.
If you or someone you love has been sexually abused by a school employee, you have options for justice. Consider speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney today to learn more about your legal rights.