Partners Craig Hubert and Brian Heyesey recently settled a case against a private boarding school in Mercer County where their client, a former student of that institution, was sexually assaulted by a member of the faculty. After details about the repeated sexual assaults were discovered, local law enforcement began a criminal investigation. The school’s faculty member was eventually convicted of a second degree indictable offense.
The allegations set forth in the civil complaint filed on behalf of the former student centered on the school’s failure to provide proper training regarding appropriate boundaries between faculty and students. The plaintiff’s expert highlighted that the school’s faculty handbook lacked specific instructions, thereby leaving to the individual staff member the decision regarding when the role of a trusted authoritative figure.mentor became an inappropriate companion/confidant with a student. The lack of clear instruction fostered an environment for criminal conduct in the form of sexual assaults and child endangerment.
In addition to being compelled to leave the school, the Plaintiff suffered psychiatric damage as a result of her victimization.
The case settled on the eve of jury selection for $450,000.