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...Read More »
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