3 Sexual Abuse Victims File Lawsuits Against St. Lucie County Public Schools and Administration

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Attorney alleges a culture of sexual abuse, cover-ups, tolerance, and sexual misconduct within the St. Lucie County Schools. Press Conference Scheduled for Tuesday March 17, at 11:00 AM.

Stuart, Florida attorney Gloria Seidule on behalf of three families of children enrolled in the St. Lucie County system filed three separate lawsuits today against the St. Lucie County Public Schools and administration. The suits allege that the children, two ages 13 and one 14 at the time of the incidents, were sexually abused by a teacher and by another student in their schools.

The lawsuits tiled on behalf of three unnamed plaintiffs, minors when the alleged abuse occurred, are referred to in the suit as (Sue Smith, William Smith and Jane Doe). The complaint was filed this afternoon in the St. Lucie County Court.

At a conference to be held tomorrow at 11 a.m. in her Stuart office, Attorney Seidule will explain the shocking allegations where the school and district officials were negligent in recognizing, preventing, and reporting sexual abuse with children in the school system.

The lawsuits, which contain graphic descriptions of the alleged acts, claim that the school board covered up the abuse allegations and failed to protect the children from the exploitation by a male teacher and a student. The lawsuit alleges that the English teacher at Westwood High School in Ft. Pierce was previously investigated in 2011 for sexual abuse but not removed from the classroom.

A family member in one of the lawsuits claims that due to the inaction and failure of the schools to report to the authorities the previous abuse allegations by the teacher, it “enabled a persistent pattern of abuse of numerous female students.” Rather than contact the Department of Children and Families, it is alleged that school officials decided to handle the matter “internally.”

The student, who was a known and previously admitted sexual predator, was placed in an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) classroom after being suspended from another school within the district. All alleged actions by parents of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students were abused under the supervision of teachers and occurred within school hours. Court documents state that the children were abused on multiple occasions with teachers in close proximity.

According to the three (3) Complaints, school officials:

  • Failed to protect children and took no action. knowing there was a sexual abuse problem
  • Failed to develop separate and distinct Policies and Procedures for inappropriate sexual conduct between students
  • Failed to adequately define sexually inappropriate conduct
  • Failed to investigate and discipline a teacher for sexually inappropriate conduct with students
  • Failed to notify the Department of Children and Families of alleged abuse
  • Failed to engage in meaningful corrective measures to protect the children in the schools
  • Intentionally chose to allow predators to continue harming young children
  • Failed to re-evaluate the district’s progressive disciplinary policy
  • Failed to protect the ESE students who are impaired and developmentally disabled
  • Failed to provide a zero tolerance policy for sexually inappropriate conduct
  • Failed to provide adequate training for employees regarding sexually inappropriate conduct
  • Created a culture within the school district, placing the needs of teachers above the needs of children

“The complaint alleges the school district has demonstrated a pattern of ignoring policy and condoning this type of misconduct and has demonstrated a pattern or practice in which the district consistently looked away,” states Seidule. “The children and their families have been forever altered by the significant harm inflicted on them during school hours, a place where children should have been protected.”

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Gloria Seidule, Esq.
since: 12/2010
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Law Office of Gloria Seidule
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