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What Are The Misconceptions Regarding A Premises Liability Sexual Assault Claim?

The number one misconception regarding a premises liability sexual assault claim would probably be that it’s the perpetrator and only the perpetrator’s fault. What I mean by that, having been involved in many of these cases, these unthinkable acts that occur in these kinds of cases are acts that are perpetrated by an individual upon a child. No question about it, that individual should be punished and there should be justice in a criminal setting. Nevertheless, what a lot of folks don’t think about is that the only way that these God awful acts occur in a school type setting or a therapeutic boarding school type setting is for the school to give the perpetrator the time, space, and opportunity to groom and ultimately molest a child victim.

One of the biggest mistakes is that people think this is all on the perpetrator without thinking how is it that this employee was hired by a boarding school that houses at risk children, or how is it that this employee is allowed to walk around campus telling sexually explicit jokes to at risk children, or how is it that this employee wasn’t written up and terminated for the many, many signs of grooming behavior? People fail to see that most of the time the perpetrator is not like a thief in the night or a ninja that parachutes in and molests these kids. Most of the time there are red flags all over the place that these schools should see and act upon. Unfortunately, these facilities either choose to ignore red flags or just don’t care enough for these damaged kids and therefore choose to do nothing about it.

A second misconception is probably that the sexual abuse is actual sexual contact between a child and adult. That’s not the only type of sexual abuse that is punishable both criminally and civilly. The other type of sexual abuse is the non-touching form of sexual abuse. (See PCAU website). Using sexual language when talking to a child is sexual abuse. Taking inappropriate pictures of a child, asking a child to take inappropriate pictures of themselves and send them through any form of technology through any mode, forcing a child to undress, an adult exposing themselves to a child or even exposing a child to sexually explicit material counts as well.

The reason that I bring it up is at Feller & Wendt, we definitely have a motto that in really trying to protect the community and first and foremost in that is protecting our children and keeping them safe and so any of these things that some may classify as “smaller” or “irrelevant” things are not. We can’t condone it, it shouldn’t be done, and we are here to make sure that we stop it and stand up against it.

Are Most Abuse Victims Or Their Guardians Aware Of A Civil Suit Being Possible In An Abuse Case?

I would dare say that under half of them are aware of any kind of a civil suit being possible and again, it’s because people believe that the perpetrator himself or herself is the only one to blame. But let us ask ourselves how child abuse and molestation occurs in these school settings:

  • “Where were the other staff members of the facility when the abuse occurred?”
  • “Where was the supervision?”
  • “Where were the checks and balances that could have prevented a staff member to be alone one on one with an at-risk child?”
  • “What measures did the facility have in place to prevent grooming type behavior?”
  • “What measures did the facility have in place to prevent staff members from telling sexual jokes to at-risk children?”
  • “What were the facilities policies and procedures when it discovered that an employee may be a risk to the safety of the at-risk children?”

For more information on Misconceptions About Sexual Assault Premises Liability, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 499-5060 today.

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