NYC Public School Sexual Abuse Lawyer
The New York Child Sexual Abuse Attorneys at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowiz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf are aggressively prosecuting sexual abuse cases against the City of New York under the Child Victims Act. If you or a loved one were the victim of sexual abuse in a New York City Public School, call our attorneys for a free consultation.
The most sacred duty we have as parents is to keep our children safe. When we send our children to school in New York City we place our children in the care and custody of the NYC school system. Teachers take over the responsibilities of parents and have a duty to keep our children safe and to properly supervise all children in the classroom, lunchroom, playing field, and after-school clubs. The school has a responsibility to screen and supervise its employees to ensure that they are protecting our children.
When children are exposed to pornography, unwanted touching, leering, comments of a sexual nature, or other inappropriate “sexual” activity, the school may be responsible not only for failing to supervise other children but also for failing to screen and supervise teachers, para-professionals, coaches, bus drivers, and other adults who are employees of or have other legal relationships to the NYC public school system.
New York City, the NYC public schools, and those who perpetrate these assaults and other heinous acts or fail to protect our children from predators may be held responsible. Recently the court has held that a school may be responsible for the bad acts of a coach who took advantage of a student in the hotel where a school Club team was staying for an away game.
While we acknowledge that the vast majority of teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, support staff, maintenance crews, and janitors are dedicated to creating a safe place for our children, unfortunately, sexual predators do work in and around children in schools and wherever children are supposed to be under supervision. The injuries that children suffer can result in pain and suffering that will last a lifetime.
A troubling report by the US Government Accountability Office shows that individuals with a history of sexual misconduct may be working in some schools. Some individuals have been able to land new teaching or staff jobs after behaving inappropriately towards children in other school districts. The report by the GAO cites a number of breakdowns in the system that allow these individuals back into schools, due to incomplete background checks and other loopholes.
The GAO compared a national database of sexual offenders with employment records in 19 states and reviewed public records and interviewed officials involved in investigating sexual misconduct cases. The GAO report found a shocking number of incidences where school employees had histories of sexual misconduct which went unreported or unnoticed resulting in inappropriate hiring and trauma to children who were abused.
When it comes to sexual abuse cases, you want to make sure you hire a compassionate attorney who has vast experience prosecuting sexual abuse cases and who will not hesitate to go to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
Our attorneys not only obtained record verdicts and settlements for sexual abuse victims, but they also teach others on handling such cases.
Our managing partner, Ben Rubinowitz is a member of the Plaintiff's Steering Committee for all Child Victim's Act (CVA) cases in New York City. He provided educational teaching on the CVA to the New York State Judges at their annual conference in 2021.
Ben is also recognized as one of the most skilled trial attorneys in the country. In a podcast for the law school community he describes how to use the “Voice of Reason” approach when cross examining a school administrator who didn’t check references and hired a teacher who sexually abused a student.
Instead of simply asking the administrator one question such as "you did not check the recommendations when hiring the teacher, did you?" to which the administrator would mostly reply "yes but it was not necessary" or "I checked other things", Ben suggests driving the point home with voice of reason questions to which the administrator can't disagree.
For example, these questions could be:
- "Do you agree that your most important concern is the safety of your children?"
- " Do you agree that the children safety is the most important concern of the school?"
- "In fact, it is the single most important thing, true?"
- "In fact, there is nothing more important than that?”
No school administrator would answer no to these questions. Now that the administrator agreed about children safety, questions can be directed to the background check with questions such as:
- "Can we agree that a background check is necessary when hiring a new teacher?"
- "When you do the background check, can we agree that you do a full fair complete and thorough check?".
This question can be split into multiple questions to bring the administrator to agree that a "full", "fair", "thorough" and “complete” check must be done when hiring a teacher.
At this point only half of the work is done. The other part consists in working with the negatives by asking questions such as:
- "To the extent that you choose not to fully evaluate a teacher for hire, can we agree that this would be inappropriate?"
- "When you do a teacher evaluation it must be fair otherwise don't do it at all, true?"
- "To the extent that it was not complete, that would go against your own evaluation standards, am I right?"
- "You realize that there is a trust and reliance placed on you by the parents of the children who attend the school, true?"
- "You want to make sure they place their trust in you for a reason, true?"
- "The reason is to ensure the safety of their children at all times, true?"
- "There is no time when you don't want to make sure that children are safe correct?"
- "that's why you take the time to fully evaluate those who might be hired in the school, true?"
- "Did anyone tell you when they hired you that it is good to take shortcuts?"
- "Can we agree that this would be a bad thing?"
- "If you choose liberally not to look at references, can we agree that this would be
- "Calling the references is essential, true?"
- The next step is to question the administrator on what he did:
- "You had a choice to make as far as calling the references, true?"
- "We know that you choose not to call, correct?"
- "You made a conscious decision not to call references at any time before the teacher was hired, true?"
Whatever the administrator replies at this point he can't escape.
Ben calls this "walking the witness down to a tight rope so when you finally push, the witness falls in the canyon of doom and there is no escape".
Listen to this interactive example of "voice of reason questions" in episode 48 of Unscripted Direct (Ben segment starts at 00:17:50)
The compassionate New York Sex Abuse Lawyers at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf have obtained record verdicts and settlements for children who have been the victims of sexual violence. If your or a loved one were the victim of sexual abuse in a New York City Public School, call our attorneys for a free consultation.