Have You Experienced Sexual Assault Or Abuse?
More than 1,200 sexual assault survivors helped since 2023.
More than 1,200 sexual assault survivors helped since 2023.

Hiring a Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Speaking to an experienced teacher sexual abuse lawyer can help you or a loved one understand and label what happened, answer questions related to reporting rights and options, and enable you to understand if filing a teacher sexual abuse lawsuit can help you seek justice and healing.
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Survivor Advocate

Key Takeaways

  • Over the last few years, hundreds of teachers have been accused of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault in both criminal and civil complaints.
  • The hundreds of brave students across the nation who have already filed teacher sexual abuse lawsuits are inspiring others to come forward.
  • Speaking to an experienced teacher sexual abuse lawyer can help those impacted understand their reporting rights and options, including filing a lawsuit while protecting their personal information.

Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawyer: An Overview

Sexual abuse in schools is a seemingly growing problem—although statistics and studies surrounding the problem are limited. A study by the U.S. Department of Education in 2004 found an estimated 10 percent of K-12 public school students will experience some form of sexual misconduct at the hands of a school employee by the time they finish high school.

A recent Fox News investigation found that nearly 350 K-12 educators were arrested on child sex crimes in 2022—with 75 percent of the arrests involving alleged sex crimes against students. Their study did not include unpublicized arrests—meaning the true number of teacher sexual abuse cases may be much higher.

Many of the impacted students have bravely come forward and stood up for themselves and others by filing lawsuits against the teachers who sexually abused, assaulted, or harassed them and the school districts that employed the perpetrators. Speaking to an experienced teacher sexual abuse lawyer can help you understand if this is the right option for you. Helping Survivors works with a variety of trusted law firms around the nation experienced in teacher sexual abuse lawsuits, and we can put you in touch with someone to explore your rights and options.

Many students may not realize that what they’re experiencing is teacher sexual abuse—or where the line is between appropriate and inappropriate student-teacher relationships.

Examples of teacher sexual abuse may include:

If you or someone you love experienced any of these forms of teacher sexual abuse, you have legal rights and options.

  • Sexual grooming
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Sexual harassment, including inappropriate comments
  • Fondling or groping
  • Kissing
  • Taking or sending sexual videos or photos
  • Attempted or completed sexual assault / rape

Perpetrators of teacher sexual abuse can be any gender, race, or sexuality. All students, regardless of their demographics, can be victimized. Warning signs of teacher sexual abuse may include behavioral changes, poor academic performance, the lack of desire to attend school, anxiety, depression, and avoidance.

The best way to prevent teacher sexual abuse is for parents to have age-appropriate conversations with their children related to sexual abuse, assault, and harassment. Parents and trusted individuals should ensure the children and teens in their lives know they can tell them if they experience any form of abuse, including by a teacher, coach, principal, or anyone else.

Schools are required to perform background checks on teachers, including searching criminal records. However, background checks in the United States have many flaws. For instance, those with offenses older than seven years may be able to seal or expunge records of violent or sexual crimes. If a school conducted a background check but hired a known perpetrator or did not conduct an official background check, they can be held liable.

Your rights and options depend on various laws, including your state’s statute of limitations. Reach out to Helping Survivors to understand your options, including reporting to the school board or filing a teacher sexual abuse lawsuit against the teacher and the school.

Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in the News

Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in students or former students filing teacher sexual abuse lawsuits against the perpetrator, the school, and school districts for the harm that happened to them.

Rosemead High School Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

In October 2023, Business Insider published a multi-part exposé titled “The Predators’ Playground,” highlighting a wide-ranging set of sexual abuse allegations at Rosemead High School, which involved at least 20 school employees dating back to the 1980s.

Following the publication, three students who attended Rosemead High School between 2005 and 2011 filed a teacher sexual abuse lawsuit on May 6, 2024. The school, the El Monte Union School District, and former educators Wing Chan, Alex Rai, and Eduardo Escobar were named as defendants.

It is believed that many other students were victimized during their time at Rosemead High School. If you or someone you know was the victim of sexual abuse, assault, or harassment by a teacher at Rosemead High School, including Wing Chan, Alex Rai, or Eduardo Escobar, please reach out to us.

Student Settles Seattle Prep Sexual Abuse Lawsuit for $2.425 Million

In 2022, a student filed a lawsuit against Seattle Preparatory School, alleging sexual abuse by a former teacher and softball coach. The former coach, Jeff Pietz, was not criminally charged or named in the lawsuit—so information regarding the alleged perpetrator is limited.

However, news reports alleged that Jeff Pietz went on to become the school’s athletics director and worked at Seattle Prep from 1992 until he resigned in 2006. He then worked at a high school in Spokane, Washington, until 2020.

Seattle Preparatory School allegedly attempted to discredit the plaintiff and the allegations, stating that the claim stems from “events that transpired over 20 years ago.” Yet, studies show it can take child sexual abuse survivors years to disclose the abuse, with one study of over 1,000 survivors citing the average age of reporting to be approximately 52 years of age.

The lawsuit and press release shared by the plaintiff’s attorneys allege that Pietz harassed several female students while teaching at Seattle Preparatory.

If you or a loved one believe you may have experienced sexual abuse or harassment by Jeff Pietz or while attending Seattle Preparatory School, you can contact Helping Survivors to learn your legal rights and options.

Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Matthew Shelton and Robert Semple Elementary School

Matthew Shelton, a former fifth-grade teacher at Robert Sample Elementary School, was criminally charged with seven felony counts of lewd acts with a child over allegations brought by two student victims in early 2024.

According to news reports, Shelton had previously been arrested in 2007 on allegations of sexually abusing at least four students in Napa, California. Authorities accused Shelton of molesting four students, ages 8 and 9, while he was a third-grade teacher at Edison Elementary School, according to the Napa Valley Register.

He was acquitted of those charges. Due to California’s pre-employment background check laws, they likely would not turn up in a pre-employment background check. Parents of the alleged victims are furious that Shelton was able to maintain employment as an educator despite these criminal charges, even if he was acquitted.

Shelton began working as a substitute teacher in the Benicia Unified School District in 2012 and gained full-time employment there in 2015. Shelton supposedly resigned quietly from Benicia Unified on June 2, 2023.

Shortly after, Shelton was hired as an assistant principal at the West Contra Costa Unified School District. He worked there for approximately two months while under active criminal investigation.

There are currently two separate sexual abuse lawsuits brought by five plaintiffs against Shelton and the school districts. The suits alleged the districts failed to take adequate steps to prevent further abuse by Shelton. Lawyers and law enforcement believe that there may be more victims and encourage anyone allegedly harmed by Matthew Shelton to seek help and assistance. Helping Survivors works with experienced teacher sexual abuse law firms who can help you seek justice and accountability.

Matthew Scott Banks Schlegel of Severna Park: 14 felony and 22 Misdemeanor Charges

Matthew Scott Banks Schlegel, a 44-year-old third-grade teacher in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, was arrested on May 15, 2024, and charged with 14 felony and 22 misdemeanor counts.

The abuse is alleged to have occurred between August 2022 and March 2024. It was reported that Schlegel was removed from his position at Severna Park Elementary School on March 15, 2024, after the police opened an investigation. However, it appears that Severna Park Elementary School elected to continue to employ Schlegal following this, reassigning him to another department where he allegedly had no contact with children.

The criminal investigation and case against Schlegel are ongoing. As of May 20, 2024, he remains in jail without bail. As of publication, no lawsuits have been filed against Schlegel, Severna Park Elementary School, or the Anne Arundel County School District. However, this will likely occur as more victims come forward.

Lawsuit Against Ron Giglio and Bloom Trail High School

In May 2024, a lawsuit was filed against Ron Giglio, Bloom Trail High School, and Bloom Township High School District 206. The suit alleges Giglio groomed and sexually assaulted a student while she was a sophomore and junior at the high school nearly twenty years ago.

After filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s lawyers stated many other former Bloom Trail High School students have come forward with similar abuse allegations against Giglio. On May 16, 2024, many former students staged a public protest at Bloom High School, calling the alleged abuse by Giglio “common knowledge.”

As of publication, Giglio has not been criminally charged and is currently on administrative leave with Bloom Trail High School.

If you believe you experienced sexual harassment, abuse, or assault while attending Bloom Trail High School, reach out to us. We can help you understand your rights and options.

Why Students Are Filing Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Experiencing any form of sexual abuse, assault, or harassment can be a traumatizing experience for anyone. However, given the inherent trust students and parents place in educators, experiencing teacher sexual abuse can be even more traumatizing and triggering.

Hundreds of brave students have come forward over the last few years to file lawsuits against their schools, school districts, and individual teachers for the harm that happened to them.

These teacher sexual abuse lawsuits are often filed after a student or parent has reported the abuse to the school, and the school ignored their complaints, did not investigate thoroughly, or did not reprimand the accused educator.

Schools and school districts have a legal obligation to provide a safe environment for students free from sexual abuse and harassment. If they do not uphold this obligation, students and parents can hold them accountable for their actions or inactions by filing a teacher sexual abuse lawsuit.

Experiencing any form of sexual abuse can result in long-lasting mental and physical health effects, such as depression, anxiety, and an inability to attend classes or hold a job. An experienced teacher sexual abuse lawyer will work with you to understand your experience. They will determine your potential claims and the damages you are entitled to.

In general, a teacher sexual abuse lawsuit seeks compensation for the following damages:

  • Pain and suffering and related non-economic damages
  • Medical bills
  • Costs of mental health treatment

Survivors typically file teacher sexual abuse lawsuits against the schools and districts in addition to the perpetrators. Often, the lawsuits allege the institutions knew about the harm and did not act appropriately. Most sexual abuse lawsuits are filed against the institutions that enabled the wrongdoing. Examples include lawsuits against Catholic dioceses for abuse by clergy and medical institutions for cases involving doctor sexual assault. Generally, the individual perpetrators, especially teachers, lack sufficient assets to pay a judgment or settlement. However, these institutions generally have substantial financial means.

To determine if you have a case, speak to an experienced teacher sexual abuse lawyer. Helping Survivors can connect you with a trusted and trauma-informed lawyer in your area to assist.

How an Experienced Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help

An experienced teacher sexual lawyer can review the facts and circumstances to help you understand your legal rights and options—including whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit and what damages you can seek for the harm you suffered.

A Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawyer May Be Able to Assist With:

  • Investigating and gathering evidence of the harm
  • Submitting a complaint to the school and school board
  • Reporting the incident to law enforcement if not yet done
  • Drafting and filing a teacher sexual assault lawsuit
  • Handling all communications with any other parties, the opposing attorneys, and the courts
  • Negotiating for a possible teacher sexual abuse settlement
  • Representing you in all court appearances related to the case
  • Protecting your confidentiality

A reputable law firm representing victims of teacher sexual abuse will fiercely advocate for you while also providing trauma-informed counsel focused on helping you heal.

Advantages of The Best Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawyers

Free Consultations

A reputable and experienced law firm will speak with you regarding filing a teacher sexual abuse lawsuit for free.

A consultation call is about understanding your experience, informing you of potential options, and helping you understand the processes related to your options, including filing a teacher sexual abuse lawsuit.

No Upfront Fees - Take Cases on Contingency

A trusted teacher sexual abuse lawyer and law firm should never require you to pay an hourly fee or any upfront costs.

They will take the case on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless and until you recover compensation. This arrangement incentivizes lawyers to focus on getting you the most compensation possible. Meanwhile, you do not have to worry about legal bills and fees while recovering from the harm you have suffered.

Transparency

An experienced attorney should be transparent about your legal rights, options, and the potential outcomes of each path, including reporting to law enforcement and filing a lawsuit.

They should also be candid about the process, what you should expect, and the potential outcomes of a case.

Trauma-Informed Counsel

While you want a lawyer who will fight for justice and accountability, you also want an attorney who understands and empathizes with survivors of sexual abuse.

The best teacher sexual abuse law firms ensure their lawyers have specific training in working with survivors.

At Helping Survivors, we work with a variety of partners, including nonprofit organizations and law firms, that specialize in helping survivors of sexual abuse understand their rights and options, pursue justice, and heal from what happened to them. When you contact us, we can connect you with an experienced and trusted law firm specializing in teacher sexual abuse lawsuits.

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