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Posts Tagged "supervision"

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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Meatball Choking Death Leads To Preschool Lawsuit

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Uncategorized, Wrongful Death Claims

Meatball Choking Death Leads To Preschool Lawsuit

The Insurance Journal recently ran a story that I am sure going to be following into the future.  The story involves a lawsuit filed in Oregon by the parents of a 3 1/2-year-old girl who choked on a meatball during lunch at preschool.  The child experienced respiratory and cardiac arrest and died the next day.  The parents have alleged that the preschool failed to properly observe and supervise the child during lunch. Over the last couple of years, we have represented two preschool children who have suffered serious injuries to their upper extremities — one’s hand crushed by a collapsed folding table and the other losing the tip of a finger when it was caught on the hinge side of a closing door. In all three cases, injuries (and death in the Oregon case) could have been avoided if daycare staff had simply done their jobs and stayed attentive to the children they were being paid to educate and supervise.  For example, it seems reasonable to have a staff member closely monitoring children while they eat in order to make sure that none of the children choke.  In the event that a child appeared to be choking, it would seem reasonable for a staff member to be close enough (and attentive enough) to render aid.  Of course, this assumes that the preschool is being properly staffed for student/teacher ratio to begin with. Even momentary lapses in concentration can have tragic consequences when it comes to small children.  Every parent knows this.  Every worker at a preschool or daycare should know this, too. If you have any questions following an incident at a preschool or daycare, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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