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The Reasons Why Sexual Abuse in California Public and Private Schools Like MacLaren Hall Goes Largely Unreported
The extent of the problem in America’s schools is impossible to quantify because no national database tracks instances of sexual abuse of students by employees in K-12 public or private schools.
But evidence, based on the pages of newspapers and online news sites across the country, suggests something close to an epidemic.
School administrators, teachers and staff in California are required by law to alert authorities to suspicions about sexual abuse of underage students.
But in school districts across Southern California, some educators are ignoring that duty, choosing to keep things quiet rather than “ruin lives” of co-workers and suffer the mark of bad publicity.
As a result, victims of sexual abuse are settling lawsuits with school districts that failed their students, costing taxpayers more than $313 million in the past seven years.
Here are just a few of the statistics connecting sexual misconduct to California public and private schools.
- The perpetrators are typically male (67%), white (78%), with an average age of 36 years old.
- Positions that are typically perpetrators of sexual abuse include general education teachers (68%), coaches (21%), and music/art teachers (9%).
- 1 in 10 students will experience sexual misconduct from a school official by the time they graduate from high school.
- Locations of sexual abuse against students include at school or during school events (53%), outside of school (53%), and online (19%).
A yearlong investigation by the Southern California News Group of nearly 1,900 pages of documents and more than 100 hours of recorded police interviews revealed a more than decade-long pattern of covering up sex abuse allegations.
Recent Notable Sexual Abuse Case Details Against MacLaren Children’s Center
MacLaren Hall, also called Mac Hall, was an institution for children that closed in disgrace In 2003 as some of its former inhabitants began speaking out about sexual abuse at the facility.
It began housing over 4,000 children and non-delinquent minors at its peak.
Children frequently ran away, violence was common, and the facility was notoriously overcrowded.
Many reports by former residents of over-medication, beatings, restraints, confinement to a small punishment room, rape, and other forms of sexual assault make Mac Hall a supposedly dangerous and traumatizing place.
Two women, identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 in a lawsuit filed against the county of Los Angeles, are now 54 and 61 years old, respectively.
They allege that while housed at MacLaren they were subjected to forced vaginal intercourse, oral sex, digital penetration, groping and other sexual abuse.
In its lawsuit to close down MacLaren, ACLU accused Los Angeles County and the State of California of several broad failures at MacLaren Hall, including:
- Over reliance on MacLaren Hall as a semi-permanent rather than temporary housing unit
- Favoring money-saving decisions over those in the best interests of children
- Merely documenting the mental health needs of children rather than focusing on providing care
- Children in need of mental health treatment received no appropriate treatment or only treatment once per week
- Lack of professional training for MacLaren Hall’s staff and other social workers
The Consumer Justice Action team believes that underage victims of sexual abuse and families that suffered as well should be able to address MacLaren Children’s Center and get the compensation and justice.
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