According to KSDK, a St. Charles County high school teacher and coach has been accused of having sexual relationships with students.
Gabriel Grote, 24-years-old, was a math teacher, girls volleyball, lacrosse, and basketball coach at Francis Howell North High School.
The investigation began when the victim told her friend about messages and contact with Grotre that were inappropriate. The friend then told the police. The victim reported receiving calls, texts, and Snapchats of sexual nature from Grote regularly. She also reported Grote and her discussed dinner dates, getting married in the future, and having a family. As the relationship progressed, she would visit Grote during free periods. Investigators reported that Grote sexually assaulted the victim multiple times in his classroom.
Grote is charged with second-degree statutory sodomy and sexual contact with a student. His bond was set at $500,000 by a judge.
Attorney contributor Reed Martens has represented numerous victims of sexual assault. In an interview, Reed provided commentary on the legal rights of victims sexually assaulted by a teacher.
"Schools have a legal duty to provide a safe learning environment for students. Unfortunately, there have been many sexual assault cases against teachers across the country. Unfortunately, predators often seek out positions of power and trust, such as teaching positions to exploit students. When schools are in the hiring process, they should ensure they are doing everything possible to hire qualified people, such as running background checks. However, there are additional safeguards schools should implement to ensure students are safe."
"Victims of sexual assault and their families should secure the services of a sexual assault attorney to explore all their legal options. Nonetheless, if a school fails to provide adequate safeguards and abuse occurs, the school may be considered liable due to negligence. Often, when sexual assault occurs by a school employee, there is third-party negligence involved. An example of negligence is if prior misconduct was reported but ignored. Another example is if staff were aware of misconduct but did not report it. However, there are many other forms of negligence. In negligence cases, victims and their families may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the school."