Princeton High Coach/Custodian Charged with Criminal Sexual Assault
An ex-softball coach and custodian at Princeton High School was fired and eventually arrested for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student-athlete who was between 13 and 18 years old. 27-year-old Brik A. Wedekind pleaded not guilty to the charge, a Class 1 felony, in November. If convicted, he could face 4 to 15 years in state prison with no eligibility for parole.
On October 16, Princeton High School Superintendent Kirk Haring announced that the Princeton Police Department was investigating allegations of an inappropriate relationship between an employee and student at the school, and that the employee was no longer employed by the school.
On October 26, the Princeton Police Department announced that Wedekind was charged with criminal sexual assault after an investigation. Wedekind appeared in Bureau County Circuit Court for the first time on November 14 and pleaded not guilty. His trial is set to begin on April 8.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Sexual Assault by School Employees
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com has a background as a sex crimes prosecutor and currently represents sexual assault survivors in civil lawsuits. Here is some insight from Brian regarding the legal options available to school sex abuse victims and their families:
In any field that involves working with kids, it’s crucial to properly screen new employees and make sure that the children are safe. Sadly, sexual predators often seek out positions in our schools, youth sports leagues, religious organizations, and other fields. When a school employee or someone else in a position of trust commits child sexual abuse, it’s important both to see the offender prosecuted and to hold the organization responsible if their negligence allowed the abuse to happen.
In some situations, sexual abuse is preventable and occurs only due to negligence by the school – such as hiring an employee with a history of sexual misconduct. In cases that involve negligence, the victims and their parents may have the right to file a lawsuit against the school.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a school employee, your family can find justice for the trauma you’ve suffered. If you’d like to learn more about your family’s legal options, consider contacting one of our experienced sexual abuse survivors attorneys.