Private School Sexual Abuse

Private schools represent the highest educational excellence and personal development opportunities for countless California students and their families. Children are sent to these institutions for the rigorous academic challenges preparing them for college and adulthood. Yet, beneath this facade of academic prestige and community respect, there exists a hidden and deeply disturbing issue: sexual abuse.

At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, we fight back against sexual abuse that occurs in private schools. We work tirelessly to keep private institutions from hiding sexual abuse allegations and turning a blind eye to harm being done to the children in their care. We want to give a voice to those who have been silenced and staunchly advocate for survivors who have suffered unimaginable harm in an environment that was meant to nurture and safeguard them.

We Fight Back Against Private School Sexual Abuse

In the Bay Area, private schools often have insufficient policies that fail to safeguard children from potential predators within their institutions. At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, we are not just about litigating claims; we're about driving systemic change. Our firm has advocated for stronger child protection measures in private schools across the Bay Area and throughout California. Our efforts have forced school administrators to reconsider and revamp the way students are protected from potential predators.

Our team has successfully represented and secured significant compensation for child sex abuse victims in numerous private schools. Some of our most notable cases include:

  • A $3.5 million settlement for a student sexually abused by a teacher at a private high school.
  • A $3.15 million settlement for a student abused by a teacher’s aide at a charter school.
  • A $1.2 million settlement for the sexual abuse of a student by her high school teacher.

We’ve won sexual abuse cases against numerous Bay Area private and charter schools. Here are some private schools and institutions we’ve held accountable.

  • Valley Christian Schools in San Jose, CA
  • Presentation High School in San Jose, CA
  • The Harker School in San Jose, CA
  • West Valley-Mission Community College District in San Jose, CA
  • The Shining Star Foundation and Star Academy in San Rafael, CA
  • Summit Public School in San Jose, CA
  • Spark Charter School in Sunnyvale, CA

At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, we understand that parents seek not only the best possible compensation for their children but also to effect positive change from their tragic experiences. Our shared commitment to our clients goes beyond the courtroom. Together, we strive to establish more robust and effective child protection systems in educational institutions, ensuring that future generations of students are safer and better protected.

How Common is Sexual Abuse in Private Schools

Sexual abuse in private schools is a more prevalent issue than many might realize. According to recent surveys and studies, the statistics paint a concerning picture:

Approximately 10% of students in private schools have reported experiencing sexual abuse. This is slightly higher compared to the 7% in public schools. It's important to note that these figures may not fully capture the extent of the problem. Many cases of sexual abuse in private schools go unreported, making it challenging to grasp the true prevalence.

A study by the US Department of Education found that private schools are less likely to report sexual abuse cases to law enforcement compared to their public counterparts. This reluctance can be attributed to a desire to protect the school's reputation and avoid legal liability.

Why Does Sexual Abuse Occur in Private Schools?

Sexual abuse in private schools often goes unnoticed and unreported for years. Private institutions may encourage privacy and secrecy when allegations are made. They also have large resources and legal teams at their disposal to make sure these allegations disappear. This secrecy and lack of accountability can create a safe haven for these predators that allows them to continue abusing students for decades.

Victims in private schools may be hesitant to come forward due to fears of retaliation or not being believed. This fear can be particularly acute in private school settings, where close-knit communities and power dynamics can play a significant role.

There's also a tendency in private schools to prioritize the institution's or the perpetrator's reputation over the safety and well-being of the victim. This prioritization can lead to a culture of silence and a lack of accountability.

Who Can Be Held Accountable When Sexual Abuse Occurs?

When sexual abuse occurs in a private school setting, multiple parties can be held accountable. Understanding who these parties are is crucial for survivors and their families seeking justice and to prevent future incidents. Here's a breakdown of who can be held accountable:

  • The Abuser: The individual who committed the sexual abuse is primarily accountable for their actions. This person can be a teacher, staff member, coach, or any other individual in a position of trust or authority within the school. It can also be another student.
  • The School Administration: School administrators can be held accountable, especially if they fail to implement adequate safety measures or ignore signs of abuse. This includes not conducting thorough background checks on employees, lacking clear policies on handling abuse allegations, or failing to provide a safe student environment.
  • The School Board or Governing Body: The school's governing body, such as the school board or trustees, can be held liable if it is found that they did not enforce policies that could have prevented the abuse or were negligent in their oversight responsibilities.
  • Third-Party Contractors: If the abuse was perpetrated by someone not directly employed by the school but associated with it, such as a contractor or volunteer, the individual, and their employer (if applicable) can be held accountable.
  • Other Staff Members: If other staff members were aware of the abuse and did not take appropriate actions to stop or report it, they can also be held accountable for their inaction.
  • The School's Legal Entity: Depending on the structure of the private school, the legal entity that owns or operates the school (such as a non-profit organization or a corporation) can be held liable, particularly if the abuse was systemic or resulted from institutional failings.

In each case, the level of accountability depends on the specifics of the situation, including each party's actions (or inactions), their role within the school, and the legal framework governing child protection and abuse in the school setting.

Do Private Schools Have to Report Sexual Abuse?

In California, the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) specifies that certain professionals, including teachers, administrative staff, and other school employees, are legally required to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect, which includes sexual abuse.

This mandate applies to both public and private schools. Teachers, administrators, and other staff members in private educational institutions are obligated to report any suspicions or knowledge of child abuse to the appropriate authorities.

This mandate applies to both public and private schools. Teachers, administrators, and other staff members in private educational institutions are obligated to report any suspicions or knowledge of child abuse to the appropriate authorities.

Failure to report suspected abuse can result in legal consequences for the individual who neglected their reporting duty. This includes possible criminal charges and civil liabilities, particularly if the failure to report leads to continued abuse or harm to the child.

Title IX and Private Schools

Title IX is a federal civil rights law in the United States passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. While it is commonly associated with public educational institutions, Title IX's scope also extends to many private schools, particularly those that receive federal funding. The receipt of federal funding can come in various forms, such as federal grants, scholarships, or other types of federal financial assistance.

Title IX prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence in educational settings. This includes a range of behaviors such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. The law obligates schools to address and remedy any instances of sexual harassment or violence and to take steps to prevent recurrence.

They must designate a Title IX coordinator to oversee compliance, handle complaints, and ensure appropriate procedures are in place for investigating and resolving complaints.

Schools must ensure that students, staff, and faculty are aware of their rights under Title IX and know how to report incidents of sexual harassment or sexual violence.

Filing a Civil Lawsuit After Private School Sexual Abuse

You have the power and legal right to hold your abuser and private school institution accountable for the harm you suffered. The first step to doing this is to contact an experienced sexual abuse lawyer.

At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, our sexual abuse legal team has decades of experience handling these sensitive cases, providing guidance and support from the outset. We will gather and preserve crucial evidence, such as medical records, eyewitness testimonies, therapist's observations, and any pertinent documentation that bolsters your case. Even if it's been years since your abuse, we can still find evidence to support your claim and hold negligent private schools accountable.

By pursuing a sexual abuse lawsuit, you can achieve justice, hold the responsible parties accountable, and contribute to preventing future instances of abuse. We know that financial compensation does not erase the hurt and trauma you suffered. However, it can help you move forward in your life after suffering sexual abuse.

At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, our goal is to provide a path towards healing and justice, ensuring that each client receives the attention and restitution they rightfully deserve.

Statute of Limitations

This is a critical aspect of the legal process. The statute of limitations sets the time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed. In California, recent legislative changes have extended these time limits, giving survivors more time to come forward with their claims. This extension acknowledges the challenges and complexities often faced by survivors in recognizing and reporting abuse.

Under California law, survivors of childhood sexual abuse have until the age of 40, or within five years of the discovery of the abuse, to file a civil lawsuit. There are always exceptions, though, and the laws are constantly changing in California to benefit survivors of sexual abuse. For this reason, you need to call our law firm to explore your legal options. We can help you avoid missing critical deadlines and ensure you receive the justice you deserve.

We Stand With You

If you or a loved one has suffered from sexual abuse in a private school setting, know that you are not alone. At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, we are more than just attorneys – we are steadfast advocates for sexual abuse survivors, committed to bringing you the justice and peace you deserve.

We believe that taking legal action is not just about seeking compensation; it's a powerful step towards healing, closure, and driving change to prevent future abuse. By standing up against those who have wronged you, you're also standing up for others, forging a path towards a safer and more just future.

Let us help you in this journey. Contact Cerri, Boskovich & Allard today for a confidential consultation. Together, we can explore your options, build a strong case, and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the justice and support you rightfully deserve.

Client Reviews

“Working with CBA has been a truly remarkable experience. They exude genuineness, openness, and transparency, transforming a challenging situation into a positive one. Lauren, in particular, consistently displayed empathy, ensuring a comfortable and safe environment throughout.”

Jane Doe v. San Francisco Unified School District

Jane Doe

“Every step of the way, Lauren gave me hope when I felt hopeless, and she gave me help when I felt helpless. Lauren was the attorney who I knew was in my corner, and she will undoubtedly continue to be in the corner of survivors to hold their abuser and institution accountable.”

Jane Doe 2 v. East Side Union High School District

Jane Doe 2

“What happened to me needed to be addressed. I missed out on such an important part of my life, while my institution made no qualms. You don’t get to push kids under a rug. I’m glad I was given an opportunity to address my broken life.”

Jane Doe v. Saratoga–Los Gatos Union High School District

Jane Doe
“My family and I were so thankful for the law services and guidance received during a very emotional and challenging time; the care, sensitivity and professionalism with which our case was handled provided us with a sense of calm, clarity and confidence that we could not have navigated on our own or for each other.” Mary Doe
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