Attorney Commentary: Brian Kent is an attorney for sexual abuse in schools. In the second section of this article, Jeff will discuss the legal rights of school sex abuse victims and their families.
Former Leal Elementary School substitute teacher Clarence Walker was arrested on Tuesday, April 28, and charged with sexually abusing a student at the school. District 116 fired the 36-year-old sub last fall when allegations that Walker inappropriately touched students first surfaced.
Walker has been charged with a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He is accused of touching the buttocks of a 10-year-old girl at the school on October 29. He was arraigned on this charge on Wednesday, April 29.
According to Assistant State’s Attorney Joel Fletcher, the victim told a forensic interviewer that she thought Walker was a “pervert” and that he touched her while she was retrieving a book from her bag. In the interview, the girl also accused Walker of touching other students the same way. She also said that Walker did not want college interns in the classroom.
Five other Leal Elementary students made police statements. These statements could be used to file more charges in the future or to help build a case against Walker based on a pattern of inappropriate conduct.
Sex abuse victim lawyer Brian Kent represents student sex abuse victims and their parents in civil lawsuits. Brian has some thoughts to share regarding the legal rights of these victims and their families:
Schools have a legal responsibility to make sure their students are as safe as possible. Because of the tragic reality that sexual predators are often found working near children, it’s critical for schools to have measures in place for minimizing the risk of students becoming victims of sexual abuse.
When a student reports sexual abuse by a teacher, a thorough investigation must take place. The accused teacher must be investigated and prosecuted for their crimes, and the school should also be investigated for possible negligence. Some student sex abuse cases happen partly due to negligence by the school – such as ignoring past complaints of inappropriate behavior by the teacher.
In cases involving school negligence, student sex abuse victims and their parents may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school district. If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a school employee, you can learn more about your legal options in a free consultation with one of our experienced sex abuse victim lawyers.