A teacher at an alternative school in Smithfield Township has been arrested and faces several charges relating to alleged sexual misconduct involving students. Police say that 27-year-old Jonathan Smith of Blakeslee, Monroe County inappropriately touched several underage students during school hours at the PA Treatment and Healing Center in Smithfield Township. He has been charged with corruption of minors, institutional sexual assault indecent, and unlawful contact with a minor.
State Police say that Smith hugged and touched girls’ butts and chests. He also allegedly used social media for sharing inappropriate sexual messages and images with students. Court records say that some students asked Smith to stop, but that the sexual harassment and misconduct continued.
Smith was fired after the school was notified of the allegations against him. The school says that they also contacted the Pennsylvania State Police, Childline, and parents of students victimized by the abuse.
Smith was hit with additional charges on Friday, November 16. These new allegations include smoking marijuana and having sex with an underage student in his vehicle. New charges include four counts each of institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault, and corruption of minors.
Brian Kent is a school sexual abuse lawyer with a background as a sex crimes prosecutor. Today, he helps victims get the answers, justice, and support they’re seeking in the civil courts by filing lawsuits. Here is some input from Brian into how survivors of school sexual abuse can find justice:
Our schools should be safe places where our children can learn and nurture their developing minds. But unfortunately, some teachers, coaches, and other school employees are sexual predators who use their positions of authority as a means to sexually abuse students. When a school employee sexually abuses a student, that student has legal rights in both the criminal justice system and civil courts.
In cases of sexual abuse which involve negligence, the victim and their family may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school. Examples of such negligence might include failing to run a background check and hiring a new employee with a history of sexual misconduct or failing to report past allegations of misconduct to the police.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a school employee, you can learn more about your family’s legal rights by speaking to an experienced sexual assault victims lawyer.