My Central Jersey has reported that sexual abuse allegations have been made against a former teacher at Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School, located at 272 Morris Ave, Summit, NJ 07901.
In June 2021, the first of many sexual abuse allegations were made against 70-year-old Ronald E. Wells. Wells, a former middle school drama teacher and theater director, was accused by a former student of inappropriately touching him during a private costume change in 2016. Wells was arrested on June 18, 2022.
Further investigation by the Summit Police Department and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit discovered several more former students were victimized by Wells, dating back as far as 2003. The victims, all boys, ranged in ages from 12 to 14 years old.
In April 2022, Wells was charged with 13 counts, including one count of aggravated sexual assault, a first-degree crime; two counts of sexual assault, a second-degree offense; four counts of aggravated criminal sexual contact, and six of endangering the welfare of a child, both third-degree crimes.
Brian Kent, an attorney contributor, is an experienced school sexual assault lawyer who has represented countless victims of sexual abuse in civil cases. Below, Brian discusses the legal options available to victims of sexual abuse by a middle school teacher.
"Schools are tasked with a moral and legal obligation to provide a safe learning environment for their students. Parents trust that the school and its employees not only provide their children with an education but maintain their safety on the campus. Schools must implement security measures to ensure the safety of students. These measures might include surveillance cameras across the campus and background checks on all employees and teachers."
"However, if a student is sexually abused and there are insufficient security measures in place, the school may be held accountable. If the school did not thoroughly investigate prior reports of misconduct, it could be considered negligent. Victims of sexual assault should retain the services of an experienced sexual assault lawyer to learn about all of their legal options."