According to Tampa Dispatch, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested a principal from the Dawson Elementary School located at 12961 Boggy Creek Dr, Riverview, FL 33579.
On January 19, 2022, undercover detectives began to pose as a 15-year-old boy to identify predators looking to exploit children. It was during this time that 41-year-old Derrick McLaughlin began to chat with the assumed minor. McLaughlin even attempted to lure the juvenile into engaging in sexual acts.
The elementary school principal was arrested on January 27, 2022, and charged with transmission of harmful material to a minor, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, and use of computer services or devices to solicit certain illegal acts.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard has assisted sexual abuse victims and their families in Florida for years. As an experienced school sex abuse attorney, Michael shared some of the legal options available to victims sexually abused by their principal.
"Parents rely on the school administration to take on the role of parenting their child during school hours. This responsibility includes protecting them from preventative harm. Sadly each year, elementary students fall victim to unacceptable behaviors sexual in nature, ranging from inappropriate touching to electronic conversations to physical sexual abuse. Schools have a legal duty to have a safety plan in place that includes procedures for keeping children safe from various threats and hazards, including sexual abuse. Not only should the schools be aware of these potential behaviors, but they also need to recognize the signs to prevent or stop them from occurring. Background checks can help weed out some sexual predators, but they may still gain employment in the school system. Predators look for roles trusted by students allowing them to easily exploit their victims. If a school or school district has failed to demonstrate a strong commitment in preventing these behaviors, they can be held liable in a court of law."
"Victims of adult sexual misconduct at a school should consult with an experienced school sex abuse attorney as there are many factors that affect their potential case. Their attorney will need to prove that the school or school district was negligent. They will look for prior reports of misconduct that the school may have ignored or failed to report. Additionally, it is crucial that victims file a report that falls within their state's statute of limitations."