The historic St. George’s School in Middletown is in the center of
a sexual abuse scandal that is gaining nationwide attention. Alumni of
the educational and religious institution have claimed that the school
illegally choose not to report
sexual abuse allegations across several
decades. It would appear that a loophole in the law has allowed accused teachers
and administrators to avoid all charges and investigations by resigning
upon the creation of the allegations. With no record of the allegation
outside the school, the accused person could go on to find another teaching
career elsewhere without a hitch.
Attorney Conlon of TJC ESQ believes that Rhode Island’s legislation is too vague
and convoluted, allowing perpetrators to duck out of prosecution through
resignation. He believes that in other cases parents fear that focus on
the issue through legal action would only further upset their children
and choose to do nothing. He has even come across evidence that suggests
that, decades ago, the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and
Families (DCYF) would not take the time to investigate any claim of sexual abuse at schools.
But why would they allow something so controversial and shocking go unchecked?
does have a law that requires the mandatory reporting of abuse – sexual,
emotional, or physical – as part of DCYF standards but it
only applies to parents, legal guardians, and DCYF employees. Teachers and
members of the clergy are not bound by this law for reasons largely undefined.
A spokesperson of DCYF, Mr. Raia, has stated that allegations involving
instructors should go to law enforcement officials due to the severity
of the potential charges. If any claims were brought to the DCYF, they
would pass it along to police and do nothing else.
There also comes the trouble that 16-year olds are permitted to consent
to intercourse with their teachers in Rhode Island. The law, which shows
no signs of being altered any time soon, may be permeating this idea that
sexual abuse is not something to be handled directly, and that silence
on the subject is appreciated, if not necessary.
You can read an article published by
Rhode Island Public Radio, which features an interview with Providence Child Sexual Abuse Attorney
here. If you have questions about legal representation for an abuse claim or
family law issue of your own, you can call
401.216.4414 today to schedule a
free initial consultation.