According to WTRF, a teacher has been arrested for sexual abuse that took place on the campus of Magnolia High School located at 601 Maple Ave, New Martinsville, WV 26155.
A student reported that she was sexually abused by 38-year-old John Wesley Smith on the school campus. The student alleged that she was in Smith’s vocational agriculture class, and the two often flirted. However, she further claimed the two engaged in sexual acts on the school campus while the student was only 17 years old.
Police reported that Smith admitted to the accusations. He has been arrested and faces sexual abuse charges. According to the Wetzel County School Board, he has been suspended during the investigation.
Attorney contributor Paul Bucci represents victims and their families in school sex abuse civil lawsuits in West Virginia. During an interview, Paul discussed what victims can do if sexually abused by a high school teacher.
"Sadly, school sexual abuse is a growing problem within our high schools across the country. We have seen multiple reports of school teachers and coaches taking advantage of students under their care. These positions of power and trust allow abuse to occur easier. However, it is the duty of the school to keep the school safe from predators and dangers on campus. When a student is sexually abused by a respected teacher, they should be aware they have options for legal justice."
"When a teacher abuses their position, they need to be held accountable. However, schools and school districts could also be held liable if they failed to provide reasonable preventative measures. Ultimately, schools should conduct background checks on all staff in order to reduce the risk of abusers being employed in the first place. All reports of misconduct require a follow-up investigation and alerting authorities. Additionally, schools should be equipped with security like surveillance cameras and patrolling resource officers. If a school is found to be lacking in security, it could also be held accountable for school sexual abuse."
"Victims of school sex abuse should learn more about their legal rights by consulting with an experienced attorney. While criminal charges will hold the perpetrator accountable, civil could offer the victim financial compensation and the justice they deserve."