A former summer camp counselor and tennis coach for William Penn Charter School has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage counselor from the school’s summer camp program in 2018.
35-year-old Christopher Spencer was arrested on December 19 and faces charges of attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault, institutional sexual assault, and related charges.
In July 2019, parents of a different teenage summer camp counselor filed a complaint with the school, alleging that Spencer “engaged in inappropriate online and verbal communication and interacted with their child in a way that made the child feel uncomfortable,” according to a statement from the school.
Penn Charter officials reported these allegations to ChildLine – Pennsylvania’s child abuse reporting hotline. This led to an investigation by the Philadelphia Police Department Special Victims Unit. However, this investigation was closed without further action.
The school continued to internally investigate the July 2019 allegations and spoke with other people that Spencer had interacted with through his position at Penn Charter. In September, the school says they discovered “information that led us to believe that Spencer engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with a high school-age counselor the year before, in the summer of 2018,” the school said in a statement.
The summer 2018 allegations were also reported to ChildLine and also led to an investigation by the Special Victims Unit. Spencer would eventually be arrested based on these allegations.
As a former sex-crimes prosecutor, Brian Kent helped victims of sexual abuse find justice in criminal courts. Today, Brian serves victims as a civil sex abuse victims lawyer and helps these victims and their families find justice through lawsuits. Here are some of his thoughts on the legal rights of those who have been sexually abused by school employees:
In education and other fields where adults are working with children, it’s critical to make sure all employees can be trusted. Sadly, sexual predators are often found working in these fields, where they exploit their positions of trust to commit terrible crimes against children. When a minor is sexually abused by a school employee, both the accused employee and the school should be investigated.
Employees who have been accused of sexual abuse will be subjected to a criminal investigation when the abuse is reported to the authorities. Additionally, the school should also be investigated to determine if any form of negligence contributed to the abuse – such as a failure to investigate previous allegations of sexual abuse involving an employee.
In cases of negligence, school sex abuse victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school. This type of legal action can demand accountability for negligence and help prevent other students from also being abused.
If you or your child is a victim of sex abuse by a school employee, you can learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation with one of our experienced sex abuse victims lawyers.