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Posts Tagged "sexual abuse"

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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Was Volusia School Blind To Child Sexual Abuse?

Posted by on Oct 11, 2015 in Child Sexual Abuse

Was Volusia School Blind To Child Sexual Abuse?

Any organization whose primary mission is to serve children — including elementary schools — owes every child involved in the organization a duty to protect those children from sexual abuse. This should not be a matter up for debate. This is why I so shocked to see a story on the local News 13 website describing a child sexual abuse situation at Champion Elementary School in Daytona Beach in Volusia County. As a Florida child sex abuse attorney, the story here is, unfortunately, all too familiar.  A little girl comes home and complains of pain while using the restroom.  A concerned parent at first thinks little of it, but then begins to dig a little further.  Finally, the little girl admits that somebody touched her (or worse) where they shouldn’t have. In this instance, it appears that the abuse occurred on school property — in a classroom and in the lunchroom.  How in the world this could happen during a school day — when adults are supposed to be closely supervising children — is beyond me. Nevertheless, even if it was an “innocent mistake,” the impact to this child will likely be devastating.  Statistically, this precious little girl will now face a lifetime of significant, perhaps insurmountable mental and physical health challenges.  This is the reality faced by most child sex abuse victims. Organizations that cater to children – such as schools, youth sports programs, and child mentoring programs — can be held liable for money damages when they do not adequately protect kids from sexual abuse.  Money from these kinds of claims can be used to get specialized care for victims. If you have any questions regarding a potential claim by a child against a youth-oriented organization, call Florida child sexual abuse attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or visit our website for helpful information by clicking...

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Pope Francis Shows Strong Leadership Can Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Child Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis Shows Strong Leadership Can Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis is one of the most revered men on Earth, and he probably doesn’t care what one personal injury lawyer in Winter Park, Florida, thinks about him, but I can’t help but be impressed by how this man has taken on the scourge of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.  (Disclaimer:  I am not Catholic.) The Associated Press has reported that Pope Francis has forcibly removed Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano from his duties in the diocese of Paraguay.  In addition to some doctrinal differences, the Pope took issue with Bishop Livieres’ protection and sanctuary offered to an Argentine priest, the Reverend Carlos Urrutigoity. Father Urrutigoity had previously been a Priest in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which paid a $400,000.00 sexual misconduct settlement over allegations made against Father Urrutigoity and another priest.  Although Father Urrutigooity was never charged with a crime before leaving the United States, one of his former bosses called him “a serious threat to young people.” As an attorney that represents victims of child sexual abuse here in Florida, I am a big fan of any leader who is willing to step outside of a “comfort zone”, and take active steps to eliminate child abuse and molestation from any youth-centered organization.  Pope Francis fortunately seems to have decided that it is time for the Catholic Church to not only stop protecting guilty Priests, but also to begin punishing those in the church who have been protecting the guilty. If you have any questions about a Florida child sexual abuse case, or how organizations and institutions can be held liable for failing to protect children from abusers and predators, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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