Lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP announced today the initiation of investigations into allegations of mass child sexual abuse at two Southern California high school campuses. The firm’s announcement comes in the wake of recent arrests of staff members at Franklin High School in Highland Park and Torrance High School in Torrance.
On April 16, Los Angeles Police arrested Jaime Jimenez, 46, on suspicion of sexually assaulting former and current students at Franklin High School, which is in the Los Angeles Unified School District. According to police, Jimenez has been coaching football since 1998. Investigators reportedly believe Jimenez may have victimized former students who are now adults and are urging them to come forward.
In another case, 47-year-old Thomas Joseph Snider voluntarily surrendered to Torrance police after being charged with 33 felony counts of inappropriately touching children, and eight misdemeanor counts of child molesting, involving as many as 25 male students from the high school where he worked as a wrestling coach.
Ronald Labriola, a partner with The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP, said that abuse victims may suffer tremendous psychological damage but are often unwilling to report abuse to law enforcement or seek emotional support from friends and family or mental health experts. Labriola said that “first and foremost, it’s important for abuse victims to recognize that what has happened to them is not okay and not their fault.”
The effects of abuse may be insidious and long lasting, said Labriola, whose law firm focuses on obtaining compensation for child abuse victims in civil court. “Assuming the charges against the alleged perpetrators have merit, the civil liability of LAUSD and the Torrance school district will largely depend on whether they were ware of information suggesting that these individuals posed a threat to children in their care,” said Labriola. He also explained that, while civil attorneys prefer to await the outcome of criminal proceedings in these types of cases, state and local governments have instituted statutory claims procedures that he says “unfairly force victims to file civil lawsuits very quickly in order to preserve claims for damages.”
The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP has been involved in some of the most high-profile abuse litigation in California. The firm recently represented several dozen plaintiffs in the infamous Miramonte Elementary School abuse litigation in which LAUSD agreed late last year to pay over 139,000,000 to settle the claims of 81 elementary school students abused by convicted pedophile teacher Mark Berndt.
The firm is also currently involved in litigation against LAUSD arising out of alleged child abuse perpetrated by former teachers at Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima and George de la Torre Elementary School in Wilmington.