Responding to sexual abuse claims

Employee sexual misconduct damages the educational environment, triggers unwanted media attention and results in expensive, time-consuming litigation. 

Financial liability exposure

Sexual abuse claims are one of your organization's biggest financial liability exposure.

  • These claims can take decades to be reported and often involve multiple victims. The Archdiocese of Portland, for example, has paid out $53 million for 130 sexual abuse claims.
  • Victims can file claims for violation of constitutional rights in Federal Court, which exposes the accused organization to unlimited liability and plaintiff attorney fees. The Oregon Tort Claims Act's cap on damages for public entities does not protect Oregon public entities when claims are filed in Federal Court.

That is why it is important to manage the risks and obtain high liability limits. PACE provides each member with $10 million dollars, per occurrence, of liability coverage for claims of sexual abuse.

Education organization responsibilities

In 2009, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2062 which places specific requirements on school districts, public charter schools and education service districts:

  • Train employees in preventing, identifying and reporting sexual misconduct.
  • Boards must adopt policies and procedures for reporting employee sexual misconduct.
  • Employers must seek specific information from applicants.
  • Employers must respond in a specific manner when there is reasonable cause to believe sexual misconduct has occurred
  • Permits disclosure of certain records if misconduct is substantiated.

How PACE can help

PACE is here to help.

At the request of the district, PACE attorneys come to your site to train district-level staff on state laws and provide sample policies and forms.

If your district receives notice of an inappropriate staff-student relationship within the district, the PACE legal service is available to help. PACE can assist with communications to parents, the school community and media, as well as with handling the investigation, the termination of the employment relationship, and the subsequent safety team meetings and trainings.

Other resources

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