According to Newsweek, a former coach has been accused of having a relationship with a student at West Shamokin High School, located at 178 Wolf Dr, Rural Valley, PA 16249.
On March 27, 2022, a 15-year-old student was interviewed by authorities after an investigation began on March 2. She revealed that she had been "involved in an intimate, physical relationship with their softball coach Jane Woodside" in 2018. The victim was a player on the softball team that 29-year-old Jane Woodside coached. During the alleged relationship, Woodside was the acting assistant coach. The sexual assault was reported to have occurred several times over a "six-week, two-month period."
In addition to revealing how the coach tried to hide the relationship from the teen's mothers, text messages showed how she wanted the teen not to share the details of their intimacy.
Woodside was arrested on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. The district put her on administrative leave the day after learning about the investigation. However, on March 24, the coach resigned from her position with the school.
Legal Herald attorney contributor Brian Kent represents student sex assault victims and their families in private civil suits. Brian recently shared some information about the legal options open to these victims and their families, including whether they can sue for being sexually abused by a coach.
"School safety should be a key focus in high schools and other educational institutions. Schools are required by law to have adequate security measures in place to reduce the risk of preventable dangers like sexual abuse. These measures often include security cameras and an easily accessible reporting system. Additionally, all school employees should undergo an extensive background check. These precautions are crucial in lowering the probability of school sexual assault. A private civil lawsuit could be filed if a school fails to provide proper security."
"In the event that a teacher or coach is arrested on allegations of sexual abuse against a student, the teacher, and the school safety protocols should be examined. It's critical to determine if the abuse could have been prevented or if the school's safety negligence facilitated it. The school could also be considered negligent if the coach had previous incidences of misconduct that they failed to investigate or disclose to law enforcement. Anytime school negligence is a component, the victim and their family should get legal guidance from an experienced school sexual abuse attorney. The attorney will be familiar with the state's statute of limitations as well as any exclusions that may affect the victim's ability to file a lawsuit for possible compensation."