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Posts made in February, 2015

Lottery-Winning Florida Child Sex Abuser Seeks To Avoid Paying Victims

Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 in Child Sexual Abuse

Lottery-Winning Florida Child Sex Abuser Seeks To Avoid Paying Victims

I started seeing headlines about this story a few weeks ago.  Here is the latest from www.clickorlando.com.  The story involves Timothy Dale Poole, a man who pleaded guilty in the late 1990’s to sexually abusing two boys, aged 5 and 9 years old.  The moral to the story has to do with the importance of insurance, but I’ll get to that later. As luck would have it (pardon the pun), a couple of months ago, Mr. Poole won a $3 million lottery jackpot from the Florida Lottery.  The two child victims (now adults) saw the news of Mr. Poole’s winning and sued him for money damages.  They immediately asked the judge assigned to their case to freeze Mr. Poole’s assets, for fear that he would spend or hide the money from them once they secured an eventual Judgment against him (after all, he has already pleaded guilty to abusing them.)  Last week, the judge denied the victims’ motion – as he should have under Florida law. It will be interesting to learn what happens next.  I certainly wish the victims the best in their efforts to finally secure justice against Mr. Poole. If anything, this story serves as a great illustration for why it is so beneficial to have insurance involved in any child sexual abuse case.  Regardless of the supposed financial wherewithal of any accused child sexual abuser, and regardless of how good the facts regarding liability are, there is simply no way to protect against the wasting of assets — unless insurance is involved.  This normally — but not always — means that some kind of responsible entity was supposed to be supervising the abuser. If you have any questions regarding a Florida child sexual abuse case call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Did Placement Of Bus Stop Cause Osceola Pedestrian Versus Car Accident?

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Motor vehicle accidents

Did Placement Of Bus Stop Cause Osceola Pedestrian Versus Car Accident?

A 12-year old boy was seriously injured in Osceola County a few days ago when he was struck by a car while crossing busy Partin Settlement Road on the way to his bus stop.  Apparently the boy was crossing the road to catch his school bus at his bus stop on Partin Settlement Road when a car behind the slowing bus tried to pass it, and collided with him.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, young Caleb Burgos is still in critical condition in the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. The story of Caleb’s accident would likely be interesting and instructive enough to blog about on its own.  After all, the offending driver apparently attempted to use as his excuse the fact that the bus’ stop bar had not fully deployed when he tried to pass the bus — never mind that the bus was almost fully stopped and had it flashing lights and flaps turned on. School buses have flashing lights and flaps for a reason — to alert all drivers on the road that the bus is about to stop, and that they need to be on the lookout for kids in the area. However, the story got more interesting to me, as a Florida personal injury attorney, when I saw a piece on the WESH.com website a day or so later indicating the Osceola County School Board had ordered that the location of Caleb’s bus stop be changed following his accident. Apparently parents had been complaining for some time about the location of the bus stop, and about safety concerns they had.  It wasn’t until a child was critically injured that the School Board did anything about it. Typically, decisions by school boards about things like bus stop locations are protected from liability by Florida law.  However, in a situation like this one, where the location of the bus stop almost amounts to an admission that it was poorly selected in the first place, I wonder if Osceola County Schools could also be held liable for Caleb’s injuries.  After all, Partin Settlement Road didn’t just get busy yesterday.  We are going to keep our fingers crossed for Caleb and his family. Cases against government entities are always tricky.  Not only are damaged capped by law, but cases against any governmental entity feature specific deadlines and notice requirements that do not exist in non-government cases. If you have any questions regarding a personal injury case involving a governmental entity, or any kind of pedestrian versus car accident, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407–254–4901.  Consultations and always FREE and without...

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Boy Scouts’ Child Sexual Abuse Settlement Keeps Internal Files Private, For Now

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Child Sexual Abuse

Boy Scouts’ Child Sexual Abuse Settlement Keeps Internal Files Private, For Now

A California child sexual abuse lawsuit settlement last week will allow the Boy Scouts of America to keep its “perversion files” outside of public view for a little bit longer. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a settlement has been reached between a 20-year old Santa Barbara man and the Boy Scouts of America.  The man was sexually abused at age 12 and 13 by a Scout leader named Al Stein.  Mr. Stein plead no contest to charges that he endangered three boys in 2007.  He later violated his probation when child pornography was found on his cell phone. The case had begun to receive attention from lawyers across the nation because the victim’s attorney had been successful in securing the Boy Scouts’ “perversion files” during the course of discovery and fact-finding.  The “perversion files” are internal files that Boy Scouts of America has been amassing since the 1920’s identifying sexually abusive scout leaders and their victims. Boy Scouts of America has fought for many years to keep these files secret.  The Supreme Court of Oregon ordered 20 years of files (1965 to 1985) released in a 2012 child sexual abuse lawsuit that ultimately led to a $20 million jury verdict.  Had the California lawsuit gone forward, much more recent perversion files could have been introduced into evidence.  This evidence would presumably serve to refute Boy Scouts’ claims that in recent years they have cleaned house and are taking child protection much more seriously. Perhaps it is the cynic in me, but this settlement seems much more motivated by the Boy Scouts’ preference to keep the newer “perversion files” sealed from public view, rather than by an interest in doing right by the victimized person.  Boy Scouts claims the files need to be kept secret in order to protect the victims, as well as those scout leaders who have been “falsely” accused.  According to the L.A. Times, a review of some previously disclosed “perversion files” reveals a dogged effort  by the Boy Scouts to protect abusive scout masters from criminal responsibility, and protect the organization’s reputation. It seems to me that the Boy Scouts could easily release the perversion files – if they wanted to — and redact or black out the names of the victims in order to protect their privacy.  This is what the Boy Scouts would do if they were truly interested in seeing justice done for the kids who were entrusted to them. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths that organizations will go to in order to avoid responsibility for the reprehensible actions of a small group of sick individuals — quite often to the detriment of admittedly innocent child victims.  Don’t these organizations realize that their tactics and strategies actually serve to compound the damage that has already been done to these young kids? I am guessing that it won’t be...

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