According to The Washington Post, a former football coach at Thomas S. Wootton High School has been charged with sexual abuse after allegations that he fondled two players years ago.
Christopher Papadopoulos, 26-years-old, allegedly enticed players into private training sessions designed to help with college preparation before fondling them. Papadopoulos is accused of improper contact at his house and one of the players’ homes. Court papers alleged one of the incidents occurred on school property. Both victims were 17-years-old at the time of the alleged assault. Victims reported they felt coerced by their former coach because he could improve their football skills.
Papadopoulos’ allegedly helped one of the players stretch in his basement during a home-visit meeting prior to touching him inappropriately. The victim reported Papadopoulos talked him into stripping down to his underwear, claiming he needed to see muscle growth. The victim claims he tried to stop Papadopoulos from fondling him but did not feel he had the power to say no as Papadopoulos was helping him get into college.
The second victim claims Papadopoulos communicated with him over Snapchat outside of practice. Papadopoulos allegedly persuaded the victim to send photos of himself in compression shorts under the claim of needing to measure weight-training progress. The photos over time increased in lewdness. Papadopoulos allegedly spent the night at this victim’s house after consuming alcohol together.
Papadopoulos claims the charges are not true, his attorney reported. He has been placed on administrative leave. Papadopoulos was assigned a bond of $15,000 and released from jail shortly after.
Attorney contributor Aaron Blank, an experienced sex abuse victim lawyer, has represented numerous victims sexually abused by a school employee in civil lawsuits. We interviewed Aaron and asked him to share insight on the rights of victims sexually abused by a coach.
Aaron began, “schools have a legal duty to provide a safe environment and protect their students. They must do their best to prevent predators from working with children. Unfortunately, across the country, we have seen sexual predators are sometimes seen working in schools. These predators use their positions of trust and power to exploit students sexually. Schools and administrations must actively try to protect students from danger and sexual predators.”
Aaron continued, “first victims should acquire the services of an experienced sexual abuse attorney to help determine if the school provided adequate safety for the victim and other students. If the school did not have proper safety measures in place, they might be deemed negligent in court. For example, if complaints about sexual misconduct were reported against a teacher, but the teacher was still permitted to work, the school could be considered negligent. In cases of negligence, the victim and their family should know they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit and receive compensation for damages.”