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Texas teacher gets 20-year prison term for student sex crimes

Compensation cannot overcome injuries caused by a sexual predator’s attack. Financial relief is as close as Texas civil courts get to providing comfort to victims of child sexual abuse. The money helps victims of sexual assault afford short- and long-term treatment for trauma associated with sex crimes.

Child sexual predators are liable for the harm they cause and, in many cases, so are their employers. An employer may be held responsible for neglecting to safeguard vulnerable children by failing to investigate or act on complaints of abuse. Under civil liability laws, negligence is as much a failure to take action as it is a careless or reckless act.

The former department head of an Arlington high school recently was sentenced to four 20-year prison terms to be served concurrently. The 38-year-old entered a guilty plea to having improper teacher-student relationships. He received the maximum sentence following a jury deliberation lasting less than two hours.

Prosecutors said the ex-Sam Houston High School teacher had sex with five 14- to 18-year-old female students over a decade beginning in 2002. School administrators admonished the instructor in 2009. The reprimand apparently had no effect.

Police were tipped off that the high school instructor engaged in two sexual relationships with teens in 2011 and 2012. The teacher was ordered to take an administrative leave in February 2012. He resigned the following month.

Victims testified that they had oral sex with the English teacher during school events. One woman, now 20, said the instructor supplied her with alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes and money at age 15 or 16. Prosecutors noted that the victims all were top students who physical features similar to those of the defendant’s wife.

Compensation is the goal of civil cases for child sexual abuse. Third-party defendants frequently offer the greatest possible source of damages. Plaintiffs should not be hesitant to discuss financial expectations with a liability attorney.

Source: star-telegram.com, "Former Arlington teacher sentenced to 20 years for having sex with students" No author given, Nov. 15, 2013

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