On February 22, 2023, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of 68-year-old Robert Kent of Melbourne, a cafeteria worker at Stone Middle School located at 1101 E University Blvd, Melbourne, FL 32901.
An investigation began last week after the Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Department of Children and Families, who had received a complaint alleging that Kent had sexually abused the minor, a family acquaintance, for approximately one year. The abuse is believed to have occurred at several locations in South Brevard County.
Kent has been charged with Sexual Battery, Lewd and Lascivious Molestation (3 Counts), Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition (2 counts), and Distributing Harmful Material to a Minor. He is currently being held at the Brevard County Jail without bond.
Given Kent’s employment with the school system and potential access to other minors, the investigation is continuing to determine if any other children have been victimized. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with more information about this case to contact them.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard is an experienced middle school sex abuse attorney in Florida. He represents abused victims and their families in civil lawsuits. Michael recently discussed the legal rights available for victims sexually abused by a school employee.
"Schools have a duty to protect children from abuse at all costs. This includes preventing predators from gaining employment in the school system and providing secure environments for students. In light of recent cases of school-related sexual abuse, it is important to be aware of the legal rights of victims and the obligations of institutions to ensure their safety."
"Under the law, victims of school-related sexual abuse have the right to bring a civil lawsuit against the perpetrators and, potentially, the school district. Such a suit can seek compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other damages. However, to prove liability, victims or their legal representatives must show that the school district was negligent in its duty to protect students from abuse. For example, if a school district failed to perform a thorough background check on an employee or if it failed to take reasonable steps to prevent students from coming into contact with dangerous predators, the district may be liable for the resulting harm."
"School districts must take all necessary steps to protect students from sexual abuse. This includes monitoring student-teacher interactions and investigating any incidents of misconduct. Victims of school-related sexual abuse have the right to seek compensation for their suffering, and school districts must be held accountable for their negligence. An experienced sex abuse attorney can help victims and their families explore their legal options fully."