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Parents name school board, faculty members in sexual abuse suit

Parents send their kids off to school with the expectation that the children will be instructed by responsible teachers in a safe environment. If something goes wrong, or if there are issues that need to be addressed, it is also expected that parents will be contacted by school officials as soon as they become aware of a potentially dangerous situation.

The parents of one Illinois teenage girl claim that these expectations were seriously violated when they learned their daughter had been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a teacher at her school. Not only was their daughter the victim of this sexual abuse, but the parents claim several officials and school board members knew about the misconduct and did nothing to stop it.

According to reports, the 16-year-old girl was sexually abused by her physical education teacher during 2009 and 2010. The 31-year-old teacher carried on the inappropriate relationship with her student, despite knowing that her behavior was illegal. The teacher was recently convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and is serving three years in prison for her behavior. However, the parents argue that the school district and the school board should also be held accountable for what happened to their daughter and have filed a lawsuit against the parties.

The parents state that faculty members, including the principal and school counselor, were aware that the young girl was depressed, suicidal and engaged in an inappropriate relationship with the teacher. Yet, they did nothing to alert the girl's parents or report the teacher for her misconduct. In fact, the principal only asked the teacher to resign. Members of the school board were also aware of the inappropriate relationship, according to the lawsuit. One of the board members reportedly witnessed the teen at the teacher's home as well as an inappropriate encounter between the two. Still, nothing was done to protect the welfare of the student.

The family is seeking more than $200,000 from the parties for their negligence.

Source: Evansville Courier Press, "Victim's family files lawsuit in Southern Illinois sexual abuse case," Dec. 18, 2012

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