A 5th-grade teacher at Blossom Hill Elementary School has been arrested on multiple felony charges, according to the Patch.
Joseph Houg, 50-years-old, was arrested for allegedly committed for lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and several counts of annoying and molesting a minor.
The investigation into Houg began when a 13-year-old boy reported in May that Houg made him uncomfortable during a private Zoom call. Hour continuously requested to see the boy’s abdominal muscles. Following the beginning of the investigation, a second child reported Houg asked to see his underwear during a private zoom. A third victim said Houg touched him inappropriately when he was a child. This student claimed Houg pulled down the then 5th-grade victim’s shorts during a P.E. class and touched his genital area and abdomen in 2008.
The investigation led to a warrant of Houg’s electronic devices, releasing he had multiple Zoom class recordings of students performing yoga, changing clothes, and children in their underwear. Houg was arrested on the charges stated above and is being held on $100,000 bail.
Attorney Commentator Bobby Thompson has represented multiple victims who have suffered sex abuse at schools. Using his experience from these lawsuits, Bobby offered us the following comments on whether victims have grounds for a civil lawsuit:
“Sexual predators often seek employment at schools as teachers or coaches to give them easy access to potential targets. Schools have a legal obligation to protect their students from this risk and take reasonable measures to prevent sexual predators. If schools haven’t done everything they can, then they may be held liable for negligence.”
“For example, if there have been multiple sexual assault allegations against a teacher and the school didn’t take proper measures such as investigating the teacher, the school may be liable for unlawful sexual acts that teacher commits. Some assaults may be prevented if schools take adequate safety measures. Victims and their families should consider whether schools could have taken action to prevent an assault. If the answer is yes, then they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit."