According to KSDK, a choir teacher was arrested for inappropriately touching a student at Ritenour High School, located at 9100 St Charles Rock Rd, St. Louis, MO 63114.
An investigation began after another student reported that they witnessed 60-year-old Richard Bell touch another choir student in a sexual manner. The incident occurred on April 22, 2022, and the student was just 15 years old.
The investigation revealed that this was not the first time that Bell had been accused of sexual misconduct with a student. In 2008, apparently, he was forced to sign a memo promising he "would not touch students and would maintain appropriate relationships with students." Bell began working at the school in 2004 and has been placed on administrative leave. He is facing felony charges that could land him one year in jail and up to four years in prison.
Attorney contributor Ryan Frazier provides legal counsel to sex assault victims in Missouri. Ryan guides victims and their families through the legal system to obtain the justice and financial compensation they rightfully deserve. During a recent interview, he highlighted when a high school could be held liable for victims sexually assaulted by a choir teacher.
"High schools should be places where children can learn and socialize while being kept safe from preventable dangers such as sexual abuse. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in the number of reports of sexual misconduct in schools across the country. School districts need to take precautions to prevent it from happening on their campuses. They have a moral and legal commitment to provide a sufficient level of security to ensure they have reduced all risks possible. Steps to secure the campus can include security cameras, frequent security sweeps, and requiring all staff to be up to date with a recent background check."
"If a school district fails to follow basic safety standards, they could be held accountable. Additionally, if the school failed to act on prior reports of misconduct, allowing the abuse to continue, they could be deemed negligent. School sexual assault victims and their families may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the school district or school officials in cases involving safety negligence. Victims are urged to seek the counsel of an experienced school sex abuse attorney to determine their best course of legal action."