A Maple Shade High School assistant football coach has been arrested on sex charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a female student at the school. 31-year-old Mark Kinney has been accused of having sex with the student during the current academic year, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.
The victim’s age and other characteristics have not been released in order to protect her privacy.
Kinney is employed at the school through a contractor who provides paraprofessional services. In a statement from the school, Superintendent of Schools Beth Norcia said that the district contacted the prosecutor’s office and township police as soon as they were notified of the allegations against Kinney.
Kinney has been charged with two counts of sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and official misconduct.
Kinney is the second Burlington County school employee charged with a sex crime in the past month. Rancocas Valley Regional High School teacher Alexandra Reiner was charged on January 29 with sexually assaulting a male student and endangering the welfare of a child.
Attorney contributor and school sexual abuse attorney Brian Kent is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now represents survivors of sexual assault in civil lawsuits. Here are some of his thoughts on how the legal system can help families affected by sexual assault committed by teachers, coaches, and other school staff:
Sexual predators are often people who are trusted by their communities. They’re found in our schools, healthcare facilities, and religious organizations. Fields that involve working with children are often targeted by these predators. Our schools must be aware of this fact and act accordingly to keep their students safe from the threat of sexual predators. When a staff member abuses students, it’s crucial both to prosecute the abuser and to determine if the school was negligent in a way that allowed the abuse to happen.
For example, a school might be considered negligent if staff were aware of suspected child abuse but failed to contact law enforcement or if the school hired an employee without first conducting a background check.
In cases of negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school district. If you believe your child has been sexually abused by a school employee, you should first contact the police. Additionally, we advise discussing your legal options in civil court with an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.