According to WRTV, an instructional assistant at the Pendleton Heights High School has been arrested on allegations of inappropriate conduct with a student.
Joseph Patton, 26-years-old, was arrested on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor, statutory rape, and suspicion of child solicitation. Formal charges have not yet been filed reported WRTV.
The Herald Bulletin reported the probable cause affidavit states a male student reached out to the principal to discuss a sexual relationship with Patton. Patton allegedly contacted the student through Grindr and acknowledged he knew his age. Patton and the student started making flirtatious comments and making arrangements to meet outside of school.
Additionally, the probable cause affidavit states that the student and Patton had sexual relations. Following the incident, the student allegedly realized what Patton had done was wrong because of his age and Patton's position at the school, reported The Herald Bulletin.
Attorney contributor Jeff Gibson, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer, represents victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. We asked Jeff to provide insight on the legal options of victims sexually abused by a teacher to help them determine their rights.
“Teachers and staff should do everything in their power to provide a safe learning environment. Parents trust when they send their children to school, they will be protected by school employees. Unfortunately, sexual predators seek out positions in schools to exploit their power positions over students. Schools should implement security measures to ensure the safety of students. An example of a security measure is an accessible misconduct reporting system for students.”
“If a school fails to provide proper security for students, the school may be considered liable if misconduct occurs. When sexual assault occurs, it is often the result of negligence on behalf of a third party (e.g., an employer). In cases where a school fails to provide adequate security, it may be considered liable due to its negligence. Victims sexually abused by a teacher should secure the services of an experienced sexual abuse lawyer to help determine whether their case involves negligence.”