A former contract worker for Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan in Northeast Washington D.C. has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a student. 21-year-old Jestin Hickman is charged with second-degree child sexual abuse for alleged sexual contact with a 13-year-old student.
Hickman was employed by Springboard Education in America, which is a company contracted by D.C. Public Schools for before- and after-school programs.
The police report says that Hickman would kiss the 13-year-old female student on the mouth and placed his hands on her clothed buttocks.
The alleged touching was ongoing and reportedly started in January. Police were notified in mid-May.
This case has raised concerns over possible problems with background checks for contractors at DC Public Schools and charter schools.
Although the alleged abuse was reported to the police in May, parents were not notified until June 8. A group of parents has begun circulating a letter which is demanding answers and oversight improvements from leaders in the school district.
According to the investigation, Springboard Education could not prove to district officials that it had done background checks on its contract workers.
DCPS has publicly announced that they are reviewing their current background check procedures for contractor workers. 14 of the 17 schools that use Springboard Education contractors have suspended these programs indefinitely.
Laurence Banville, a school sexual abuse lawyer at Banville Law specializes in helping victims find justice by taking legal action against their abusers and third parties who failed to prevent the abuse. Here are some of his general thoughts regarding the legal options available to victims of sex abuse by school staff members:
In fields that involve adults working with children, it’s crucial to make sure all applicants are thoroughly screened with rigorous background checks. Tragically, sexual predators often seek out these types of positions. These predators exploit the trust of their victims in order to commit heinous sexual crimes.
When a student is sexually abused by a school employee or contractor, there are several issues that should be investigated. Of course, the perpetrator should be removed from the school, investigated, and prosecuted. Additionally, it’s important to determine if the school failed to do all that they could to prevent the abuse. Some cases of school employee sexual abuse may have been prevented if not for negligence by the school.
For example, a school might be considered negligent if they failed to run a background check which could have revealed that an employee had a history of sexual misconduct complaints.
In cases involving negligence, the victims and their families may have the right to file a lawsuit.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a school staff member or contractor, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking with an experienced sex abuse victims lawyer.