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Posts Tagged "liability"

Flagler Soccer Coach Molestation Arrest – What Were Red Flags?

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Child Sexual Abuse, Recent News

Flagler Soccer Coach Molestation Arrest – What Were Red Flags?

The molestation arrest of a Flagler County Youth Soccer Coach for repeatedly sexually abusing 12-year old and 16-year old boys raises questions about what the soccer clubs the coach worked for knew or should have known about his activities. The arrest of Sean Stern, 35, also raises the question about how many other victims he might have left in his wake. According to a story on the Central Florida News 13 website, Mr. Stern was arrested in Tacoma, Washington, after Flagler County Sheriff’s Deputies issued a nationwide-warrant.  The story mentioned that Stern had coached at a multitude of Central and East Florida soccer clubs, soccer schools, and training facilities. First, it should be emphasized that Mr. Stern has only been accused of crimes, and is entitled to the the assumption of innocence.  However, if Mr. Stern did abuse the children he has been accused of molesting, they are very likely not his only victims.  In our experience handing Florida child sexual abuse cases, perpetrators very rarely only abuse one or two children. It is commonplace for experienced child sex abusers to have scores of victims.  In fact, we have been involved in a child sex abuse case against a soccer club in the Florida panhandle where law enforcement estimated that the perpetrator had over 100 child victims.  This obviously horrifying. With large numbers of victims, it is very rare that perpetrators can entirely mask their urges and activities.  Child sex abusers generally “groom” their victims by showing them lots of attention,  affection, and showering them with gifts.   We refer to these kinds of behaviors as “Red Flags.”  We saw many Red Flags by the molester in our panhandle soccer club case, and it would be surprising if Mr. Stern had not shown similar behaviors during his numerous and frequent stops along the Central Florida youth soccer circuit.  (Even the frequency of the stops seems to raise questions.) Parents who discover that their children have been sexually abused understandably have many questions about how youth-focused organizations can be held liable when their employees or volunteers sexually abuse children.  If you have need information or have questions, please call Winter Park child sexual abuse attorneys Kim Michael Cullen or Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or visit their website at...

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Money Damages Are Sometimes Only Justice Available

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Motor vehicle accidents, Recent News

Money Damages Are Sometimes Only Justice Available

The family of a man and baby who were killed, and a young woman who was injured in an October 2015 car crash at the intersection of State Road 436 and State Road 434 are understandably upset to learn that the Seminole County State Attorney’s office has chosen not to prosecute the 75-year old woman who caused the fatal and tragic crash. However, justice can still be done for this family. The prosecutor’s decision highlights the difference between the criminal justice system and the civil justice system, and the differing legal standards and standards of proof that apply to each. According to an article on the ClickOrlando.com website, Seminole County State Attorney Phil Archer has elected not to press charges against Cynthia Guthrie because he does not believe his office can prove – beyond a reasonable doubt (the criminal law standard of proof) – that Ms. Guthrie is guilty of willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others, or that she acted with reckless disregard. Because the State Attorney is not prosecuting Ms. Guthrie, it means that she does not risk jail time or probation. However, this does not mean that Ms. Guthrie will avoid all responsibility for the crash. Under our civil justice system, Ms. Guthrie can still face liability for causing the accident. However, her liability under the civil system is financial (i.e. paying money damages), not the loss of her physical freedom. In a civil case arising from a car crash, an injured party, or the surviving family member of someone who has been tragically killed, only needs to prove that the driver was negligent in order to win. Not only that, but the injured party does not need to prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the injured party only has to prove that it is more likely than not that the driver was negligent or careless. Obviously, it is much easier to prove a civil case for negligence than a criminal case. This is good because it gives accident victims an effective way of holding negligent or careless drivers accountable – even when the criminal justice system won’t. We do this all of the time for our clients. If you have any questions following a Florida car accident or wrongful death case, call Winter Park car accident attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901 or visit our main website by clicking here. We are a small, boutique law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. All consultations are free and without...

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Did Orlando High School Have Reason To Know Security Guard Was Molesting Child On School Grounds?

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Child Sexual Abuse, Uncategorized

A security guard for Evans High School in Orlando didn’t return to work this week – but it’s unclear exactly why, and what can be done about it. Patrick Leonard Collins was arrested last week and charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child and possession of child pornography.  Unfortunately, local media reports (here and here, for example) are contradictory in terms of whether Mr. Collins was abusing a male or female student, but it is clear that the child was a student at Evans High School, Mr. Collins performed a security function there, and that at least one of the abusive acts occurred on the actual premises of the school.  Apparently, Mr. Collins also traded nude photographs with the student, thus the charge he received for child pornography. Channel 6’s clickorlando.com website is reporting that, while Mr. Collins was working at Evans High School, he was actually employed by a company called Uniform Security Guard. This bit of information raises an interesting legal issue for a Florida child sexual attorney like me.  While Evans High School officials might be held liable to the student for its failure to monitor and supervise Mr. Collins while he was on school property, any civil claims for money damage brought against the high school or Orange County Schools would likely be subject to the State’s sovereign immunity statutory cap of $200,000.00. However, because Mr. Collins was actually employed by a private company, there is certainly a strong legal argument that the statutory caps would not apply Mr. Collin’s actions.  This could allow the victim to collect more than the State statutory cap – depending upon the victim’s damages. Child sex abuse cases in Florida are always difficult. There is almost always a multitude of legal issues to be addressed and solved before compensation for a child sexual abuse victim can be secured.  The case against Mr. Collins, Orange County Schools, and Uniform Security Guard, seems like no exception. If you have any questions regarding a Florida child sexual abuse case, or how damages might be calculated in a Florida child molestation case, please call Winter Park child sexual abuse attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or visit our website at...

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