According to NBC Miami, a security guard at Booker T. Washington Senior High School, located at 1200 NW 6th Ave, Miami, FL 33136, has been arrested following accusations of inappropriate conduct with an underage student. Identified as Kayaun Kendrick Whitfield, the 38-year-old security guard was taken into custody on Thursday and is now facing charges of offenses against students by authority figures, false imprisonment, and child neglect.
According to an arrest report, the alleged incident occurred when a juvenile student at the school, requested a ride home and was picked up by Whitfield. Disturbingly, the report states that Whitfield took the student to a liquor store, where he purchased vodka and orange juice. Although the student declined the offer to drink, they proceeded to a restaurant to pick up food before making a stop at an ATM. Eventually, they arrived at a parking lot near Traz Powell Stadium on Northwest 27th Avenue.
As per the report, once they were in the backseat of the vehicle, Whitfield handed the student a $100 bill. The student became perplexed by this gesture and then witnessed Whitfield attempting to mount on top of him. The student refused the advances and was later driven to his home, but Whitfield allegedly locked the car doors upon arrival, refusing to let the student out. Throughout this horrifying ordeal, Whitfield repeatedly questioned if the student planned to disclose the incident to his mother.
Fortunately, the student managed to unlock the door and flee into his home. Subsequently, he revealed to investigators that Whitfield had attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with him in the backseat, claiming that the $100 bill was offered as hush money to conceal the incident.
In the aftermath of the incident, the student reportedly received numerous phone calls from Whitfield, prompting him to block the security guard's number. However, the situation took a disturbing turn when Whitfield showed up at the student's classroom, attempting to persuade the student to leave and speak with him outside. Alarmed by Whitfield's behavior, the student promptly informed his parents, who subsequently reported the incident.
The arrest report alleges that Whitfield deliberately exploited his position of employment to pursue a romantic relationship with the student. Furthermore, he is accused of failing to provide proper care and professional supervision by allowing the student to drive without a license and by offering him alcoholic beverages.
Whitfield has been taken into custody and is currently being held at the county jail. Records indicate that his bond has been set at $17,500. At this time, information regarding legal representation for Whitfield is unavailable. The school district and local authorities are working closely together to ensure the safety and well-being of all students. Counseling services and support systems will be made available to those affected by the incident.
In the wake of a disturbing incident involving a high school security guard in Miami, questions arise about the avenues available for victims and their families to seek justice. To cover this critical topic, we sat down with Attorney Michael Haggard, Esq., an experienced child sex abuse lawyer based in Florida. In an exclusive interview, Attorney Haggard provides valuable insights into how victims and their families can pursue civil lawsuits against negligent schools. From the legal process involved to the challenges faced and the potential impact beyond financial compensation, this discussion aims to empower survivors and their families in their quest for justice.
Darla Medina (DM): Welcome, Mr. Haggard.
Michael Haggard (MH): Thank you, Darla. It's a pleasure to be here.
DM: Mr. Haggard, in light of the recent incident involving a high school security guard in Miami, what options do victims of school sex abuse have to pursue justice through civil lawsuits?
MH: Victims of school sexual abuse and their families may have legal recourse through civil lawsuits against negligent schools. These lawsuits can hold the institutions accountable for their failure to protect students from harm and provide compensation for the physical, emotional, and psychological damages suffered.
DM: Can you explain the process of filing a civil lawsuit against a school?
MH: Certainly. To initiate a civil lawsuit, victims or their families would typically consult with an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases. The attorney will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong case to prove that the school was aware of the risks or had a duty to protect the student and failed in that duty. The lawsuit would seek compensation for damages caused by the abuse, such as medical expenses, therapy costs, pain and suffering, and other related losses.
DM: What factors contribute to establishing negligence on the part of the school?
MH: Schools have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their students. When an incident of sexual abuse occurs, it is crucial to examine whether the school knew or should have known about the risk and whether they took appropriate measures to prevent it. Factors such as prior complaints, inadequate background checks, lack of supervision, or a failure to respond to red flags can help establish negligence on the part of the school.
DM: Are there any limitations or challenges victims and their families may face when pursuing civil lawsuits against schools?
MH: There can be challenges in these cases, including statutes of limitations, which vary by state. It's important for victims and their families to consult with an attorney promptly to understand their rights and any time restrictions. Additionally, schools may have powerful legal teams defending them, making it crucial to have a skilled attorney who can navigate the complexities of these cases and advocate for the victim's best interests.
DM: How can civil lawsuits help victims and their families beyond financial compensation?
MH: Civil lawsuits can provide victims and their families with a sense of justice and validation. They can shed light on the negligence of the school, potentially leading to changes in policies and procedures to prevent future abuse. Additionally, by holding the institution accountable, civil lawsuits can help survivors in their healing process and empower them to reclaim their lives.
DM: Thank you, Mr. Haggard, for shedding light on this important topic and providing valuable insights into seeking justice through civil lawsuits against negligent schools.
MH: It's been my pleasure, Darla. Thank you for having me.