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Posts Tagged "molestation"

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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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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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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