According to Mercury News, a former coach and local political advisor at North Salinas High School. John Anthony Fickas, 50-years-old, was accused of sexually assaulting students. Fickas was the junior varsity field hockey team and the shot-put coach for track and field. He was also the political advisor for the school.
Fickas raped one victim, a former North Salinas High student, during election night in 2015. The victim was 22-years-old at the time, and Fickas raped her while she was unconscious. The second victim was 15-years-old and a student at North Salinas High at the time of the assault. She was assisting him with a campaign in 2009 when he assaulted her while she was unconscious. The third victim was 42-years-old at the time when Fickas raped her. They were both attending the same event before the incident. The fourth victim was a 15-year-old North Salinas High student. When she was assisting with campaign efforts from 2010-2012 to fulfill her school volunteer hours, Fickas allegedly sexually assaulted her. The fifth victim was 15-years-old, and Fickas arranged for them to have sexual relations with a prostitute, reported Mercury News.
Fickas has been sentenced to 28 years and eight months in prison for sexual assault. Fickas has also been ordered to register as a sex offender, reported Mercury News.
Attorney contributor Bobby Thompson has represented numerous sexual assault victims and their families in civil lawsuits. In an interview, we asked Bobby to provide insight on the legal rights of victims sexually assaulted by a school employee.
"When parents send their children to school, they expect the staff to treat their children with care and respect. It is the school's legal obligation to uphold the students' safety and ensure the employees are trustworthy. Unfortunately, we have seen in the news that predators place themselves in positions of power and exploit students sexually. Schools and administration must do their best to ensure the safety of students by implementing safety measures. Safety measures include easy reporting systems and background checks for staff. To uphold students' safety, schools must do everything possible to stop predators from working with students and limit sexual abuse."
"Victims should secure the services of an experienced sexual assault attorney to explore their legal options. If a school fails to implement safety measures to protect students and sexual abuse occurs by a staff member, it may be considered liable. Some sexual assaults only occur due to negligence by a third party, such as a school. An example of negligence is if previous allegations surfaced or misconduct was reported, but the employee was permitted to continue working. Victims should know in cases involving negligence they may have grounds for a lawsuit and receive compensation for damages."