A drama teacher at Arapahoe High School turned himself into Arapahoe County police on January 25 after an arrest warrant was issued in connection with allegations of child sexual abuse. 41-year-old Ian Ahern is accused of sexually abusing a former student at the school, who has recently come forward to authorities.
According to a news release by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, Ahern is accused of sexually assaulting a female student in 2014. These allegations were made through a Safe2Tell notification, which is a system allowing for the anonymous reporting of sexual abuse and other safety concerns.
After turning himself in, Ahern was booked at the Arapahoe County Jail on two counts of sexual assault by a person in a position of trust.
Ahern has been employed as the drama teacher at Arapahoe High School since 2010.
Attorney contributor Dan Lipman specializes in helping survivors of sexual violence find justice in civil cases. Here is some insight from Dan about the legal options available to those who have survived abuse by teachers and other school employees:
Sexual predators are often found in positions of trust where they'll have easy access to children - such as teaching, coaching, and religious leadership. Because of this tragic reality, it's critical for our school's administrators to make sure their students are safe and that no predators are hired as employees or volunteers. New applicants must be thoroughly screened and other preventative measures must be put in place to make sure students are safe from the threat of abuse by employees. When abuse is reported or suspected, it must be reported to law enforcement immediately.
While most schools manage to keep their students safe from predators, we regularly hear of sexual abuse cases involving teachers and their students. When this happens, it's vital to make sure that the abuser is prosecuted, that the victims get the support they need, and if applicable, that the school is held liable for negligence that allowed the abuse to occur.
A school might be considered negligent for failure to run a background check or for failure to report suspected abuse to the police, for example. In cases where negligence contributed to the abuse, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school district.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse by a teacher or another school employee, we want to help your family find justice. Get in touch with our experienced sexual abuse survivors attorneys to learn more about your legal options in a free consultation.