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Posts Tagged "duty"

Background Checks Often Not Enough To Stop Child Sexual Abuse

Posted by on Jul 30, 2014 in Child Sexual Abuse, Recent News

Background Checks Often Not Enough To Stop Child Sexual Abuse

Close Supervision and Monitoring Needs To Be Done, Too. Organizations and entities that serve children can be responsible for child sexual abuse — even if they perform their own seemingly vigorous background checks. This simple truth hit home with me as I read a recent article published on the Orlando Sentinel website detailing how Sylvester Johnson, a 62-year-old worker at the Boys and Girls Club of Kissimmee was recently arrested on accusations of lewd and lascivious battery on three young girls in the program. Apparently Mr. Johnson allegedly made several sexually suggestive comments to girls in the program, and allegedly grabbed once of the girls’ buttocks.  He also allegedly took a young girl into a closet and fondled her in exchange for candy money, and told another young girl that he wished he was younger so that he could date her. Boys and Girls Club officials were very quick to state that they ran a very vigorous background check on Mr. Johnson when they originally hired him, as well as recently as a month ago. As a Florida child sexual abuse attorney, I have to wonder why a recent background check was conducted on Mr. Johnson.  Was there some concern about Mr. Johnson, individually?  Was there some concern within the organization that there was a potential sexual abuser on staff? Second, many organizations seem to think that a thorough background check is enough, but it isn’t.  Organizations that cater to children also have a duty to remain vigilant in terms of monitoring and supervising all adults who are placed in contact with the children that they work with.  Sexual predators and child sexual abusers are often very skilled at hiding their prior activities and backgrounds. There are actually websites and other resources available to pedophiles and child predators that tell them how to prepare for a background check.  Experience tells us that these folks generally cannot help themselves and will abuse again and again. Typically these folks have less opportunity to do so if they’re being very closely monitored or watched by their employers. Background checks are essential, but they are not the end-all-be-all. If you have any questions regarding a Florida child sexual abuse case, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or visit...

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Did Cerebral Palsy Organization Properly Supervise Accused Sexual Abuser?

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Child Sexual Abuse

Clickorlando.com featured an article I recently read with some professional interest. The article detailed the recent arrest of an Ormond Beach man based upon allegations that he sexually abused a disabled woman. While stories of bad behavior similar that alleged here seem to have become commonplace in recent years, as an Orlando sexual abuse attorney, I became more interested when I learned that the accused abuser met the disabled woman through his employment with United Cerebral Palsy. First, I was interested to learn that, while UCP forbade staff from socializing with clients, the accused abuse freely admitted to police that he brought the victim to his home and to a restaurant. The sexual abuse allegedly occurred at the UCP worker’s house, and also in his car. Organizations like UCP owe two main duties of care to their patients/clients. The first is to make sure that background checks are performed on any workers who are placed in positions of trust with the patients/clients. The second duty is to properly supervise every person that is placed in contact with the patient/client by the overseeing organization — and particularly if the patient/client is someone who is very vulnerable, like a child or disabled person. As this case develops it will be interesting to see how much UCP knew about this worker from Ormond Beach when it allowed him to have access to this disabled  woman. Additionally, it will be interesting to learn how much UCP knew about this man taking this woman in his car and to his home. In my experience, these kinds of things generally don’t happen without other people knowing about it. If an organization like UCP did not do enough to protect the victim, the organization can be held liable for negligent supervision or negligent screening or background checking, and might have to pay damages to the sexual abuse victim. Hopefully for everyone involved here, this will turn out to have been some kind of significant...

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Where Was Security When Two Men Shot In Altamonte Springs Apartment Parking Lot?

Posted by on Jan 31, 2013 in Negligent Security

I hoped that after the holidays I would stop seeing stories about people being shot out in common areas of Central Florida apartment complexes, but it seems that my hopes have been dashed. I was sad to see yet another article in the Orlando Sentinel on this topic – this time involving the Altamonte Villa apartment complex on Orienta Avenue. In a scenario similar to one I blogged about just a couple of weeks ago, three residents of the Altamonte Villa complex were approached by two men who apparently attempted to rob them. In the course of the robbery one of the residents was shot and another was pistol-whipped. The third resident was able to escape and call 911. Apparently, the assailants were last seen running away through the apartment complex. Although the article did not say so, I hope the two gentlemen who were injured are going to be okay. In situations like this one, the physical injuries are often overshadowed by feelings of helplessness and violation. As a Winter Park negligent security lawyer, I was particularly struck by the comment in the piece about the attackers running away through the complex.  Apartment complexes that know, or should know, of violence and criminal activity on or near their premises, have a duty to control the ingress and egress of people on to their property. Reading that the attackers were escaping through the complex makes me question how much control (or knowledge) the Altamonte Villa complex had about who was coming or going. If the apartment complex had information about violence or crime in the area over time, then more or heightened security would be in order. If an apartment complex does not use reasonable care in keeping residents safe, victims of violence or crime could have a valid negligent security claim. If you have any questions about negligent security cases, call us at...

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