According to CBS Local, a former Germantown Academy teacher has been charged and arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a student.
Michael Cheatle, 37-years-old, allegedly sexually abused a student when she was in her junior year at Germantown Academy. The victim is now 23-years-old detailed her sexual contact with the teacher. The alleged abuse began in 2014 and lasted over 18 months; the encounters were on and off-campus. During the inappropriate sexual interactions between the student and teacher, the teacher revealed to his class his wife was pregnant. The victim expressed her hurt feelings regarding this situation to Cheatle.
On September 1st, the police met with Cheatle, following the meeting, he resigned. Cheatle is being charged with institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with minor, sexual offenses, corruption of a minor, and endangering a child’s welfare.
Cheatle posted $100,000 bail and released under the condition of not coming into contact with any children other than his own.
Attorney Contributor Brian Kent is an experienced sexual assault lawyer licensed in Pennsylvania. In an interview, we asked Brian to provide insight into the rights of victims sexually assaulted by a teacher. He said the following:
“Schools have a legal obligation to protect their students from harm, including sexual assault. Across the country, we have seen teachers take advantage of their positions of power and trust to abuse students sexually. To protect their student, schools must implement adequate security measures—for example, background checks, security cameras, and an easy reporting system. If schools do not have proper security measures in place, the school could be considered liable for any abuse that occurs.”
Can a victim sue the school for sexual abuse?
“A victim may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against their school if the school is considered negligent in the alleged sexual abuse. The victim and their family should ask if the school did everything possible to prevent the assault. If a school did not have proper security measures in place or ignored previous misconduct reports, it could be considered negligent. In cases of negligence, victims should acquire the services of an experienced sexual assault lawyer. If the victim’s lawyer can prove the school is liable, the victim may receive compensation for the damages caused.”