Sex Abuse in Day Care

For most working families, day care is more than a convenience. It is a necessity that allows them to achieve a better standard of living. Sexual abuse of children in day care is relatively rare. But when it does occur, its impact on both parents and children may be felt for many years and be difficult to overcome.

Types of Day Care

Day care settings may be licensed or unlicensed. They may be more formal and institutional, such as preschools, with a trained professional and semi-professional staff. They may also be medium-sized and less formal as to structure and staff training, or small family-run operations in the home. Although day care homes seem to pose a greater risk of sexual abuse than day care centers or preschools, even model programs can turn out to be harmful and unsafe. The common denominator in all day care settings is that, to a greater or lesser degree, adults and adolescents are allowed ready access to children, sometimes for hours on end without much supervision.

Who Are the Abusers?

Day care centers employ a variety of individuals, any one of whom may have the inclination and opportunity to abuse a child in their care. Regular staff may include:

  • Teachers
  • Teacher’s Aides
  • Administrators and Directors
  • Janitors
  • Bus Drivers
  • Volunteers

In family day care, husbands, sons, grandfathers and other relatives, boyfriends and neighbors may have access to children in the home. A most recent case of day care sex abuse involved the teen-aged son of the owner and, in two other instances, the husbands of the primary caretakers who molested children while their wives were either not at home or elsewhere in the house.

One of the most troubling aspects of day care abuse is that it tends to be more severe than sex abuse in other contexts and more often involves physical injury. Some abusers in day care are pedophiles who are motivated by a desire for sexual gratification. Others are sadistic individuals who enjoy hurting children and may engage in physical as well as sexual abuse. At its worst, sex abuse in day care may involve ritual abuse or the use of children in pornography.

Warning Signs

Parents with children in day care should be alert to these possible indicators of abuse:

  • Bedwetting, fear of going to bed, nightmares and other sleep disturbances.
  • Behavioral changes and mood swings.
  • Changes in toilet training habits.
  • Sudden aggressive or rebellious behavior.
  • Sexual acting-out or an unusual interest in sexual matters.
  • Clinging or regressive infantile behavior.
  • Fear of certain people, places or activities.
  • Excessive fear of returning to the day care setting.

Interventions

Parents may be slow to recognize these signals of abuse. They may deny them or attribute them to other causes. For example, a mother who sees persistent redness and irritation in her daughter’s vaginal area may think it’s a hygiene problem. Or, when a child becomes very frightened or reluctant to go to day care, the parent may interpret it as separation anxiety.

Sex abuse in day care victimizes both the parent and the child. Parents may feel terribly guilty at having entrusted the care of their child to abusive strangers. Children may experience long-term trauma. Parent and child victims will need therapeutic intervention and time to heal. With a great deal of emotional support, each of them may succeed in dealing with the after-effects of sexual abuse.

Choosing a Day Care Center

Parents who choose unlicensed family day care settings for their child should be aware that these entities lack formal requirements for screening and training of staff. In licensed day care centers and preschools, parents should make sure that all staff members who come in contact with their children are screened for criminal records, substance abuse and a history of emotional instability.

If your child has been sexually abused in a day care center, contact the attorneys at The Orlow Firm for a free initial consultation. For your convenience, we maintain four offices throughout New York City. Call (646) 647-3398 or contact us online.

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Are Sexually Abusive Teachers Remaining In New York Schools?

Anyone with school-aged children would like to believe that the era when sexually abusive teachers went unpunished is over. In recent years, allegations have surfaced that one of New York’s most prestigious private schools allowed a pattern of sexual abuse to occur for decades, but the abuse was alleged to have occurred from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

It can be easy to think that teachers who are caught displaying inappropriate behavior in this day and age are swiftly punished and kept away from students. Unfortunately, an advocacy group says that’s not the case in New York City public schools.

The Parents’ Transparency Project, headed by a former network anchor, alleges that the schools have a disciplinary system that could allow abusive staff members to keep their jobs. Data that the group obtained show that since 2007, New York City school officials tried to fire 128 school employees for inappropriate relationships with students or sexual misconduct at school. They succeeded in terminating just 33 of those employees.

Questionable Behavior

According to the New York Daily News, teachers were allowed to continue in the classroom despite the following conduct:

  • A teacher told a student that he loved her and had dreamed about her. He showed up at her house. After a hearing, an arbitrator found that the teacher was too friendly, but had not crossed a line.
  • A gym teacher bent a student over a chair and thrust at him from behind. An arbitrator said the gym teacher had committed misconduct, but that the offense was not fireable.

Situations like these arise because of New York’s law regarding educator misconduct. Under state law, an educator who is believed to have committed misconduct has the right to a hearing before an independent officer to determine the punishment. This hearing is called a 3020-a. Both the teacher and the school usually have attorneys who argue before an arbitrator hired by the state. The arbitrator, rather than the school, decides the consequences, according to the New York Daily News.

Teachers convicted of sex crimes with children can be immediately terminated, but teachers whose conduct does not rise to the level of a crime have the right to a hearing. This right means that in some cases, teachers could be in New York classrooms with questionable past conduct.

Regardless of where a child goes to school, parents should be aware of the signs of sexual abuse and can take steps to help protect their kids. Psychology Today recommends that parents encourage their kids to talk to them regularly about their day. That way, children may feel more comfortable reporting unacceptable behaviors to their parents. Watch for red flags with sexual abusers who may be grooming children.

New York’s Statute Of Limitations

If you suspect sexual abuse, call the police and report your suspicions to the school. You may want to consider contacting an attorney right away. New York has a strict statute of limitations that prevents many sexual abuse victims from moving forward with lawsuits because too much time has passed. Currently, the statute of limitation allows sexual abuse victims to file lawsuits until the child turns 18 plus an additional five years. Essentially, that means until the victim turns 23.

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New York Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

Child Sex Abuse: Filing Your Claim in Time

If you or someone you love has been a victim of child sex abuse, you can file a civil lawsuit against the abuser and seek compensation for the harm you suffered. You can also file a civil lawsuit against a third party, such as a church or school, that was responsible for employing and/or supervising the abuser. But before you consider legal action, it is important that you know the statute of limitations. This is a term for a legal time frame in which a lawsuit must be filed. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the specified period, you will lose the right to do so.

In New York, if you were sexually abused as a minor, you must file your lawsuit within 5 years of reaching the age of 18. If you wait until after age 23 you will not be permitted to sue your abuser and seek compensation. The statute of limitations for filing a sex abuse or negligence claim against a third party such as a school or a church is three years However, if the acts of negligence occurred when you were a minor, the time period expires 3 years after your 18th birthday, at age 21.

In matters of child sex abuse, New York has one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the U.S. Some states have eliminated statutes of limitation in criminal and civil child sex abuse actions. A bill to do away with child sex abuse statutes of limitation in both civil and criminal actions in New York has passed in the Assembly but failed in the Senate four times. The bill would also provide for a one-year, one-time window, beginning 60 days after the governor signs the bill, in which people can bring civil lawsuits against individual abusers or institutions in older cases of abuse. Queens Democrat Margaret Markey sponsored the bill in reaction to allegations of child sex abuse in some of New York’s exclusive high schools and a Yeshiva University high school in Manhattan. The proposed legislation has been vigorously opposed by a Republican-controlled Senate as well as by the Catholic Church.

Experts on child sex abuse say that victims often feel guilty or ashamed to come forward to say they have been abused. It is especially difficult for victims to confront their abusers. Many people believe that individuals abused as children should be given as much time as they need to deal with the trauma and decide whether to file a civil claim or criminal charges against the abuser. Under current New York law, a child sex abuser can evade prosecution or a lawsuit merely because the statute of limitations has expired. Meanwhile, the victim suffers a lifetime of emotional harm.

Contact the Orlow Firm

A sensitive, experienced New York sexual abuse attorney can help you decide whether and when to file a lawsuit in cases of child sex abuse. If you or a loved one was victimized by sex abuse as a child, contact The Orlow Firm for a free initial consultation. For your convenience, we maintain four offices throughout New York City.

Call (646) 647-3398 or contact us online.

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Sexual Abuse Compensation

Holding Sexual Abusers Accountable

As personal injury attorneys, we will be among the first to say that financial compensation from a successful legal claim will not undo the significant effects of sexual abuse. Victims of sexual abuse often have severe emotional and mental anguish, and they may need years of treatment to begin overcoming their loss. While a lawsuit will not reverse the damage of sexual abuse, it can help victims heal and provide some financial relief for the hardships they have faced.

At The Orlow Firm, our New York attorneys understand that victims of sexual abuse may have many reasons for filing a legal claim. We are committed to helping our clients meet their goals while pursuing maximum sexual abuse compensation for them. We serve clients in the New York City region, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Types Of Damages

If you or your child is a sexual abuse victim, you may be eligible for several types of compensation, referred to as damages. Your abuser, or an institution or agency such as a school, church or foster care agency, may be required to compensate you. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may receive compensatory damages such as:

  • Pain and suffering: In sexual abuse cases, compensatory damages are often awarded for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. They are designed to compensate you for the anguish and grief you have endured and will endure in the future.
  • Medical expenses: As the result of your abuse, you may have required significant medical care and therapy, and you may need to continue receiving medical care and therapy. Through a successful legal claim, you may be reimbursed for these past and future costs.
  • Lost earnings: If the effects of your abuse are so severe that you are no longer able to work, you may be eligible for compensation to help make up for your lost earnings.

For many sexual abuse cases, compensatory damages for long-term effects such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment are the most significant type of compensation.

Enforcing Your New York City Sexual Assault Victim Rights

At The Orlow Firm, our lawyers will evaluate your case to determine who you may hold accountable and the types of compensation for which you may be eligible. We are dedicated to pursuing the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Schedule a free initial consultation today.

Call (646) 647-3398 or contact us online.

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Warning Signs Of Sexual Abuse In Children

Do You Suspect Sexual Abuse?

Children who are sexually abused may try to keep the abuse a secret, especially when the abuser is someone they know. Children may be afraid they will be blamed or punished for the abuse. They may be afraid they will no longer be loved or that their family will break up as a result. This fear means that it can be difficult to know when a child is being sexually abused, but many children will display behavioral or other changes.

If you learn your child has been sexually abused by an educator, foster parent, religious leader or another person, The Orlow Firm can help. During a free initial consultation, our lawyers will listen to your story and explain your potential legal options. We represent clients throughout New York City, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Behavioral Changes After Sexual Abuse

Not all children who are victims of sexual abuse will show warning signs. According to one estimate, 40 percent of children do not have symptoms. Other children may have behavior changes or physical signs. According to the American Psychological Association and other organizations, children who have been sexually abused may develop:

  • Angry outbursts
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sleeping problems or nightmares
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Regressive behaviors. For example, some children could start wetting the bed or sucking their thumbs again.

Children may also show sexual knowledge or behaviors that are unusual for their age. They may be reluctant to be alone with a particular person. Bruises, genital pain or bleeding, rashes or cuts may also be warning signs of sexual abuse. Sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy can also be a symptom, especially in children under 14.

What To Do If You See Warning Signs

At The Orlow Firm, our attorneys can advise you of what to do if you or your child has been sexually abused and guide you through the legal process if you choose to file a claim against the perpetrator. For a free consultation, call (646) 647-3398 or contact us online.

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