The sexual abuse of students in private school has occupied headlines around the nation for the last several years. St. Paul’s School , Phillips-Andover Academy, Exeter, Horace Mann and Choate Rosemary Hall all have experienced scandals because of sexual abuse. As a result there have been not just lawsuits but legislative recommendations to better protect such students. Now New York may actually pass a bill that would protect these students according to News10.
The new bill seeks to close a loophole that currently makes it optional for private schools to report sexual abuse to the police. No matter who is responsible for the abuse, whether it’s a teacher, another student, or a staff member, private schools are not required to report it to the police. The new bill would close that loophole, requiring all instances of sexual abuse on campus be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Many groups are behind this bill with the hope that it will protect students who are often at their most vulnerable in a private school setting, particularly when on-campus housing is involved. The bill is currently sitting on the Governor’s desk awaiting review and approval.
Any time sexual abuse is covered up, victims suffer greatly. A cover up can make the victim feel as if the abuse is his or her fault or as if the abuse didn’t matter. Many were concerned when the Catholic Church continually covered up abuse, and victims’ rights advocates are just as frustrated now that private schools are able to do that.
With measures like this in place, though, that would no longer be possible, and every educational institution would be held to the same high standard.
The effects of sexual abuse can last a lifetime and often devastate victims and their families. If you or someone you love has been the victim of private school sex abuse, please contact the office of Paul Mones to learn your options.