The Legal Herald Logo
Legal Analysis By Attorneys
Breaking Legal News

Kansas City, MO - Plaza Academy Executive Director, Ward Worley, Still Working at Private School Despite Being Charged with Failure to Report Sexual Assault

Kansas City, MO - Plaza Academy Executive Director, Ward Worley, Still Working at Private School Despite Being Charged with Failure to Report Sexual Assault
Published: February 21, 2024
By: Darla Medina
Last Updated on February 21, 2024

Missouri Private School Director Charged with Failure to Report Sexual Assault

According to KCUR, Ward Worley, the 56-year-old executive director of The Plaza Academy located at 3930 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64111, has been charged with a misdemeanor for failing to report a sexual assault that occurred at the school.

The incident involved a student under 14 and a 17-year-old student at The Plaza Academy. Worley's failure to report the assault to state investigators has raised concerns about the school's handling of the situation.

According to court documents, the school was notified of the incident on February 27, 2023, but it was not reported to the authorities until May 5, 2023. The delay in reporting was discovered by the Kansas City Police Department during their investigation, which began on May 5, 2023. Worley was subsequently charged on September 27, 2023, with failure to report child abuse as a mandated reporter.

The mother of the victim, whose identity is being protected, has since enrolled her child in a different private school. She expressed relief that her child is now in a safe and thriving environment.

Despite the charges, Worley has continued to report to work at The Plaza Academy. The school, being private, is not subject to state oversight on personnel matters. It remains unclear who authorized Worley's continued presence at the school, as board president Zola Gordy initially declined to comment on the matter. However, Gordy later stated that the school has faith in Worley but provided no further details.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has confirmed that it lacks regulatory authority over private schools in the state, including The Plaza Academy. Private schools in Missouri operate independently when it comes to personnel decisions and oversight. In contrast, Kansas has accredited private schools that are regulated by the Kansas State Department of Education.

Worley, who has been the executive director of the private school since 2013, does not possess an education certificate from the state. However, he is licensed as a professional counselor. State law governing counselors allows for the suspension or revocation of licenses if an individual is found guilty of an offense directly related to their professional duties.

The decision regarding the future employment of Worley lies solely with The Plaza Academy board. While state authorities lack the power to intervene, private schools are encouraged to have clear policies in place for handling situations where an employee is charged with a crime.

This case raises questions about the appropriate response when a private school employee is charged with a misdemeanor. Different school districts have varying policies in place, with some opting for paid leave during the legal process. However, the severity of the charge and its relevance to the employee's responsibilities are crucial factors in determining the appropriate course of action.

Reed Martens Personal Injury Lawyer In Missouri And Kansas(1)
Hi, I’m attorney Reed Martens. I’m a lawyer in Missouri and Kansas, and if you or a loved one were injured in an accident, I’d be happy to discuss your legal options in a free consultation.
(888) 997-3792

Understanding the Legal Options for Private School Sex Abuse Victims

Following the failure to report sex abuse charges involving a private school in Missouri, concerns about school sex abuse and the legal recourse available to victims and their families have come to the forefront. To further elaborate on this critical issue, we spoke with Reed Martens, an experienced private school abuse lawyer based in Missouri. In this interview, Martens provides valuable knowledge regarding filing civil cases against liable parties, including private schools.

Editor Darla Medina (DM): Thank you for joining us, Mr. Martens.

Reed Martens, Esq. (RM): Thank you, Darla. It's my pleasure to be here and discuss this crucial topic.

DM: In cases of private school sex abuse, what recourse do victims and their families have when it comes to pursuing justice through civil litigation?

RM: Victims and their families have the legal right to seek justice through civil litigation against the liable parties involved in the abuse. This can include private schools in Missouri. Civil cases allow victims to hold accountable those responsible for the abuse and seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and psychological harm they have endured.

DM: Could you elaborate on the potential liable parties in these cases involving private schools?

RM: Certainly. In cases of school sex abuse, the liable parties can vary. While the primary perpetrator of the abuse is often the focus, other parties may share liability. This can include school administrators, teachers, counselors, or staff members who failed in their duty to protect the students or neglected to report the abuse to the proper authorities. Private schools can also be held responsible for their negligence in providing a safe environment for their students.

DM: How can victims and their families initiate a civil case against private schools in Missouri?

RM: The first step is to consult with an experienced sexual abuse attorney with experience in these types of cases. They can guide the victims and their families through the legal process, help gather evidence, and build a strong case. It's crucial to act promptly, as statutes of limitations dictate the time within which a victim can bring a lawsuit.

DM: Are there any unique challenges or considerations when pursuing civil cases against private schools in Missouri compared to public schools?

RM: Yes, there can be some differences. Private schools operate independently and may have different policies and regulations compared to public schools. However, they still have a duty of care towards their students, and if that duty is breached, they can be held accountable. Working with an attorney who understands the complexities of private school cases and can navigate the legal intricacies is essential.

DM: Thank you, Mr. Martens, for sharing your insights on this critical topic. Your guidance will undoubtedly be valuable to those seeking justice for school sex abuse victims.

RM: Thank you, Darla. Victims and their families should know that they have legal options and support available to them. Together, we can work towards holding accountable those responsible for these heinous acts and seek justice for the survivors.



Got A Tip Or Questions 
About A Story?
Call Us!
The Legal Herald
About the Author
Darla Medina
About Darla Medina
Editor: Darla is a content writer with a focus on the legal field. She covers cases of sexual abuse, drunk driving, and preventable violent crime for the Legal Herald. Contact Darla: This article was fact checked prior to publishing by this author to ensure compliance with our rigorous editorial standards. We will only use authoritative sources. Our values compel us to provide only trustworthy information. If you find an error, please contact us.
Read some recent posts
Find A Local Lawyer

  • Details
  • Incident
Want To Contribute Breaking News? 
Contact Us Today
Legal Herald
10355 Kensington Shore Dr. #102
Orlando, FL 32827
Call: (888) 997-3792
© 2020 The Legal Herald, a division of Eagle Peak Marketing, LLC. All rights reserved.

We would like our readers to know that the information in this story may be sourced from secondary sources and may therefore contain inaccuracies. We will correct them if and when they are brought to our attention or we discover them through our editing process. If you have any concerns about this post, please contact us immediately and we will rectify issues. DISCLAIMER: The material contained in this post is for general informational purposes. It is not intended to constitute or express legal or medical advice. Any laws referenced herein are substantially based on general legal principles and may not be applicable to your particular situation. Laws can often be different from one jurisdiction to the next. The Legal Herald is not a law firm. Law firms and lawyers from around the country may apply to become a sponsor or contributor to The Legal Herald.
SitemapMedia RoomDisclaimer / Terms Of Service & Privacy Policy