According to CBS Local Miami, a Miami Gardens High School track and field coach is accused of sexually assaulting a student ten years ago and recently molesting her little sister. Lawshea is the head coach of the Miami Gardens Xpress Track and Field, a private program.
Darius Lawshea, 45-years-old, allegedly had non-consensual sex with the victim three times in 2010 when she was 14-years-old and on the team. She claims the first time was when she stayed at his apartment overnight, and the other two were when he drove her home from practice. She stated she did not come forward earlier because he was loved by the community and did not want to get in trouble. However, when the alleged victim heard that he allegedly sexually assaulted her sister, she knew she needed to speak up.
Lawshea has been arrested and charged with felony sexual battery.
Attorney Contributor Michael Haggard, an experienced sexual assault lawyer, has represented numerous victims of sexual assault in civil cases. In an interview, we asked Michael to provide insight into the rights of victims sexually assaulted by a coach. He said the following:
“Sports organizations have a legal duty to protect students from harm, including sexual assault. Across the country, we have seen teachers, coaches, and other staff charged for taking advantage of their children sexually and abusing their power and positions of trust. To protect students, sports organizations and their administrators must provide adequate security measures—for example, background checks and security cameras. If these organizations do not provide adequate security, the sports organization could be considered liable for sexual abuse that occurs.”
“A victim and their family may have grounds for a civil lawsuit if the sports organization is considered negligent in alleged sexual abuse cases. The victim should acquire an experienced sexual abuse attorney’s services and ask if the sports organization did everything possible to prevent the assault from occurring. The sports organization may be considered negligent if they did not have proper security measures in place when the assault occurred. If the victim’s attorney can prove the sports organization is liable, the victim and their family may receive compensation for damages.”