According to The Washington Post, Thoreau Middle School in Vienna principal has been charged for not reporting a complaint of suspected sexual abuse of a student to authorities. Yusef Azimi, 41-years-old, allegedly did not report to child protective services or the police that a teacher engaged inappropriate contact with a student.
The teacher, Matthew Snell, was charged in October for carnal knowledge of a child and taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial relationship. The investigation began when the parents of the child found inappropriate messages between Snell and the student. A second charge came in November when another teen came forward. This resulted in a second count of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial relationship.
Azimi is a mandatory reporter of the law but failed to report his knowledge of this case. He is currently out of police custody after placing a $3,000 bond.
Attorney contributor Kevin Biniazan, an experienced sexual assault lawyer, licensed in Virginia, has represented numerous victims sexually abused by a teacher. Below, Kevin provides insight into the legal rights of victims of these crimes.
“Schools have a legal obligation to protect the children attending their school as well as patrons on their property. Upholding the safety of those on school property requires ample security measures to be implemented. Examples of ample security are efficient misconduct reporting, security cameras, or on-campus reporters. If schools do not provide ample security to their patrons, and sexual abuse occurs, the school could be considered liable.”
We asked Kevin to expand on how a school could be considered liable, and he said the following:
“A school can be considered liable if they were negligent. An example of negligence is if prior misconduct reports were filed against a teacher, and those reports were ignored, and the teacher continued to work. In cases of negligence, victims should know they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit. To learn more about your rights, victims should secure the services of an experienced sexual assault lawyer. If the victim’s lawyer can prove the school was negligent, the victim may be eligible to receive compensation for damages.”