Police in Woodville, Texas have arrested and charged a martial arts instructor with Sexual Assault of a Child. On Monday, August 27, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Troy Lee Smith Jr., who was working as the instructor at the Academy of Martial Arts on South Magnolia St. in Woodville. A former student of Smith's reported that Smith had sexually abused him or her while attending the Academy of Martial Arts. Smith was arrested on Tuesday, August 28 and is being held at the Tyler County Jail on a $150,000 bond.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan has several years of experience representing the victims of sexual violence. Here is his perspective on liability for sexual abuse committed by coaches and instructors
Physical hobbies like sports and martial arts offer numerous benefits. These programs are often great ways to help kids learn new skills, become more confident, and make new friends. While most of these organizations are run well, sometimes the people who are supposed to mentor our youth as coaches abuse their positions and sexually abuse their students instead. When this happens, it's important for the families struggling with this difficult situation to be aware of their legal options.
Reporting allegations of sexual abuse to the authorities should always be the first priority. Additionally, victims and their families should also know that the civil court system can help them get financial compensation and hold third parties accountable for failing to prevent sexual abuse. In order to have grounds for a lawsuit, your lawyer will need to prove that the business owner's negligence failed to prevent the assault - such as a failure to run a background check for a history of sexual misconduct.
Third-party liability for sexual assault is complicated and varies greatly from case to case. In order to fully understand your legal options, you'll need to discuss your family's situation with an experienced sexual assault victims lawyer.