An employee of Lafayette High School in the Rockwood School District was arrested in September on statutory rape charges based on allegations that he had sexual contact with a student. According to investigators, these incidents occurred on Lafayette High School property as well as the student's home in Wentzville.
Police in St. Louis County say that 24-year-old Devyn Rhodes, who worked as a hall monitor at Lafayette High School, had sex with a 16-year-old female student. These incidents allegedly happened in the school resource officer's office and the boy's locker room in 2017.
Rhodes has been charged with statutory rape and contact with a student by engaging in sexual intercourse.
Attorney Reed Martens helps survivors of sexual abuse find the justice and support they deserve in civil court. We've asked him to discuss the options for legal recourse available to survivors of school employee sexual abuse:
Our schools should be safe spaces where our children can learn new things and grow into well-rounded members of our communities. But like many other fields that involve working with children, jobs at schools can attract sexual predators. Because of this sad reality, it's crucial for administrators to make sure new job applicants are thoroughly screened and that preventative measures are taken to protect students from sexual abuse by teachers, coaches, and other staff.
When a staff member sexually abuses a student, the first priorities are arresting the prosecutor and making sure the student gets the support they need. Additionally, it's important to determine if the school district was negligent in a way that allowed the abuse to occur - such as failure to run a background check, inadequate supervision, or failure to report allegations of sexual misconduct to law enforcement. In cases which involve negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of school employee sexual abuse, we understand the difficulties your family is facing during this dark time. If you're looking to find justice for your family, we recommend discussing your case with an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.