A girl’s father is suing the Chicago Board of Education claiming that his daughter’s teacher didn’t do enough to prevent her rape that occurred last spring. The lawsuit says that her teacher noticed her leaving school property with a stranger at the start of the school day, and was suspicious enough to take several pictures of the girl and the stranger, but did nothing further. The girl’s abductor took her away from school grounds and later raped her. The teacher supposedly didn’t come forward with the information she had until that evening when she told the girl’s parents.
While rape is a criminal issue, and the suspect in this case might be facing charges, the father has filed a civil lawsuit. He is suing the school for failing to uphold the duty of care that he claims his daughter was owed. When kids are in school, the school staff and administration have certain obligations for keeping them safe. If they don’t, and a child is injured, parents can sue.
Unfortunately, this is not the first case of its kind. We have spoken with many individuals and families who have experienced similar tragedies. When people call us with similar circumstances – a rape that happened because a third party wasn’t upholding their duty of care (like the school in the above case) – we refer them to the same attorneys because they have won these cases in the past and we trust that they’re the right lawyers to be taking on these cases.
The basis of the cases we see is the same – the victim or their parents are suing a property owner, school district or other caretaker who was supposed to provide some protection and failed to do so. In this case it was the girl’s teacher. In some cases, it might the owner of a parking lot who didn’t replace broken lights and created an opportunity for criminal activity; or a hotel that didn’t make sure its rooms were secure against break-ins; or a daycare that didn’t screen its employees and hired someone with a record of criminal sexual abuse.
Sadly, this happens often enough that we consider it a niche area of law, meaning there are attorneys who have specific experience in this area. This is who we recommend if you are considering a lawsuit. The attorneys we refer these cases to not only are good at what they do, but they understand the seriousness of the situation and are sensitive to what the victims and families are going through. We believe both of these qualities are important to a victim and their family.
As with any injury lawsuit, there is no charge for a consultation and no fee at all unless you win. If you need a referral or have questions about whether you might have a civil lawsuit after a rape or other sexual abuse, please contact us.