Justice In America – America’s K-12 School Sex Abuse Crisis

Ever since 2002 with the Mary Kay Letourneau case and the Boston Archdiocese scandal, the media has been more interested in reporting about sex abuse of students in schools, changing societal awareness about what before had been “the unthinkable.”

The way school people and the public look at sex abuse in schools has changed demonstrably since then, impacting schools in unexpected ways. Child sex abuse is a larger societal problem though. According to the U.S. Department of Justice:

  • Approximately 30% of sexual assault cases are reported to authorities.
  • 62,939 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2012.
  • Not all sexually abused children exhibit symptoms.
  • In a 2012 maltreatment report, 26% of victims who were sexually abused were between 12-14 years of age and 34% were younger than 9 years of age.
  • The Center for Disease Control estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 35.8% of sexual assaults occur when the victim is between the ages of 12 and 17.
  • 82% of all juvenile victims are female.
  • 69% of the teen sexual assaults reported to law enforcement occurred in the residence of the victim, the offender, or another individual.
  • Teens 16 to 19 years of age were 3½ times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

The Jury verdicts can be staggering! The sex abuse problem is extensive and not isolated. Literally thousands of such claims have been brought in the U.S. since 2002.

If you think the Catholic Church has a problem. The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.

In this special Network TV show of “Justice in America – America’s K-12 School Sex Abuse Scandals” our investigative team sits down with Morgan Stewart and Saul Wolf at the Manly Stewart Finaldi law firm, who have successfully represented victims of abuse in schools in the highest profile cases.

Among them are:

In November 2014, the L.A. Unified School District agreed to pay a record $139 million to settle legal claims with 69 parents and 81 students of Miramonte Elementary School who accused teacher Mark Berndt of molestation and the school for failing to address complaints of misconduct against Berndt for years. Berndt was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

In May 2016, the Los Angeles Unified School District agreed to pay $88 million to settle sex abuse cases involving 30 children molested by George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School teacher Robert Pimentel and Telfair Avenue Elementary teacher Paul Chapel III.

In August 2016, the Redlands Unified School District paid out $6 million to a former Citrus Valley High School student whose teacher, Laura Whitehurst, bore his child. During the past decade, more than twenty-five victims of childhood sexual abuse have taken RUSD to court in cases that have involved ten past and present RUSD employees. Morgan Stewart has represented nearly all these victims.

In 2018, the Torrance Unified School District agreed to a $31 million settlement with 25 current and former students molested by wrestling coach Thomas Joseph Snider. Snider was sentenced in October 2016 to 69 years to life in prison.

In 2022, ten elementary school students who were sexually assaulted by a former technology aide Fernando Figueroa will receive a $13.7-million settlement from the Riverside Unified School District to settle numerous lawsuits. The children ranged in age from 7 to 11 at the time of their abuse. Figueroa was sent to prison in December 2019 for 20 years to life.

In 2022, victims of Sun Valley high school wrestling coach Terry Gillard convicted of molesting nine children will receive a $52-million settlement in a lawsuit that alleged the Los Angeles Unified School District knew of prior sexual misconduct and did nothing about it. In October 2019, Gillard was sentenced to 71 years in prison for sexually assaulting 14 young students.

Morgan, Saul and their firm have earned reputations as unyielding trial lawyers who repeatedly represent individuals and families against big companies and the Goliaths of the world. And repeatedly win.

You can get more information on Manly, Stewart & Finaldi @ https://www.manlystewart.com/