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Michigan School Sex Abuse Victims Can Get Justice and Potential Compensation for Injuries

Michigan School Sex Abuse Victims Can Get Justice and Potential Compensation for Injuries


Any sexual contact between a child and a school employee is inappropriate, regardless of consent. 

This can include direct contact between a student and teacher, or a situation where a teacher or other staff member turns a blind eye to sexual abuse by another person on school property. 

Because Michigan schools always have a duty to keep their students safe, any instance of sexual abuse that occurs on campus grounds may implicate the school as being negligent in a lawsuit. 

Additionally, the school can be held accountable even when a teacher engages in sexual relations with a student off the school property. 

A Jane Doe Reveals Details of Michigan School Sex Abuse

A Christian school in western Michigan is being sued by a former student for not preventing her sexual abuse by a teacher and an older student.

The lawsuit was filed in March and seeks $25,000 in damages.

The student, referred to as "Jane Doe," alleges that the school, The Potter's House, and its leaders failed to comply with policies and caused her emotional distress.

Doe claims that in January 2016, when she was in fifth grade, an artist in residence at the school, James "Jamie" Treadwell, sexually assaulted her in his studio.

The lawsuit further alleges that the school was informed of sexual allegations against Treadwell but failed to act.

The lawsuit alleges that the school violated federal statutes by having no stated policies at the time and school leaders did not conduct a background check on Treadwell.

In the fall of 2019, Doe was victimized a second time by a high school senior at The Potter's House, according to the suit.

The older student pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and was placed on probation.

The school has disputed several factual claims in the lawsuit.

Extending the Statute of Limitations for Michigan Abuse Victims

Particularly for Michigan school sex abuse victims, the statute of limitations on child abuse cases in Michigan is considered to be one of the worst in the country.

2016 legislation extended the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases in Michigan by 10 years—previously for first-degree offenses, there was no time limit on when a crime can be prosecuted.

But after several sexual abuse scandals at a few Michigan universities in recent years, a new bipartisan legislative package has been introduced in Michigan that would allow sexual abuse survivors more time to sue until they turn age 52.

The legislation would help hold institutions accountable in the long term and require that survivors are informed of their right to access advocates, attorneys, counselors, and other supports as they navigate through the reporting process.

A Michigan School Sex Abuse Victim Can Sue Abusers

If you were sexually abused as a student, you may be able to sue both the teacher and the school.

The employer of the teacher or other school employee may be held liable for the assault under the legal theory of Respondeat Superior.

However, these cases may require proof that the school district or supervisors knew or should have known of the sexual predatory tendencies of the school staff member.

This is often established by the evidence of previous complaints about the teacher or circumstances which gave rise to suspicious behavior but were ignored.

We believe Michigan school sex abuse victims—and the families who suffered with them—deserve justice and potential compensation for their injuries.

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