Summer Camp Sex Abuse Lawyer

A summer camp may be held liable for sexual abuse if they fail to protect campers, including not conducting background checks on their employees, not providing adequate supervision and security, and failing to act on reports of abuse. If you or a loved one were sexually abused at a summer camp, our lawyers can help you pursue justice.

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Child Sexual Abuse at Summer Camps

When summer begins, many kids are ecstatic to be out of school and ready to start their warm weathered adventures. For a great majority of children, these adventures tend to start at summer camp where they experience leisure and independence for the first time. While summer camp can provide benefits for parents and their children, there are risks involved when trusting someone with your child for long periods of time.

Parents often do their research on a summer camp to ensure that their child is being taken care of in a safe and supervised atmosphere, but unfortunately, that can never be enough to ensure a child’s safety. Out of the many risks, sex abuse in summer camps is a real and serious threat to young campers. If you or a loved one was sexually abused at a summer camp, please continue reading for more information regarding your rights, the legal process, and the next best steps to take. The summer camp sex abuse lawyers at Edwards Pottinger are ready to help you answer any questions and seek the justice you deserve. Contact Edwards Pottinger for a free and confidential consultation today.

How Common is Sexual Abuse in Summer Camps?

Unfortunately, summer camp sexual abuse is alarmingly prevalent. Over the past 55 years, there have been more than 500 reports of sexual abuse at youth camps. Twenty-one of those cases occurred in one recent year alone. In reality, the number is much higher. According to a recent study by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, about 60% of camp sexual assault cases go unreported due to the survivors’ fear of repercussions and not being believed.

Sexual abuse in many cases is the coercing or pressuring of a child to participate in any sexual acts, including penetration, inappropriate touching, and other sexual acts. Nevertheless, this abuse is not always physical. Sex abuse can also manifest itself as instances that include sexual dialogue, exposing oneself to a child, and psychological pressure or coercion to engage in sexual acts.

Summer Camps Facing Sexual Abuse Allegations

Some infamous cases of summer camp sex abuse include:

  • Kanakuk Kamps: A sleep-away camp in Missouri employed a prolific child molester who sexually abused boys at the camp for years. The abuser admitted to sexually abusing 13 campers, but prosecutors overseeing the case estimated the real number to be over 100. The attacker received a life sentence for his crimes.
  • Atlanta Summer Camp: An employee at a summer camp in Atlanta was charged with several felonies after authorities stated that he had sexually abused multiple children under the age of 12 for two years between 2016 and 2018.
  • Arizona Summer Camp: Another staffer at a LifeWay Camp in Arizona was arrested for five instances of inappropriate touching of two children.

Steps to Preventing Summer Camp Sexual Abuse

Anyone involved in the care of children in summer camps has the responsibility to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. Everyone involved, including parents, can take the necessary steps to prevent the risk of sexual abuse in summer camps.

There are several things that parents can do to prevent summer camp sexual abuse. First and foremost, talking to your children is very important. Teaching them to understand the importance of boundaries will be vital for them to recognize any uncomfortable touching as wrong, and stop it by telling an authority figure or their parents before the situation worsens.

It is also important to do your research on the summer camp you are interested in before enrolling your child there. This includes visiting prospective camps and asking questions specific to staff and children interactions, as well as the policies and procedures the camp upholds to make sure the children are safe under their care. Additionally, asking the camp employers about their hiring process, including if employees have undergone background checks, is important to ensure your child is in reliable hands.

Summer camps should have reporting policies in place to escalate reports of sexual abuse to the authorities if a child comes to them with allegations of abuse. They should also have policies in place to promptly remove adults who have been accused of inappropriate behavior from interacting with young campers.

Signs that a Child May Have Been Sexually Abused at Camp

Finally, be wary of the warning signs of possible summer camp sexual abuse. These warning signs can be physical, emotional, or behavioral.

  • Physical warning signs can present themselves as any physical trauma such as swelling or bruising, or the presence of a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Emotional warning signs include an abrupt change in mood or overall personality, anxiety, self-harm, and a decrease in self-esteem.
  • Behavioral warning signs include being secretive, any appearance of sexual behavior or knowledge that is inappropriate for their age, and overly compliant behavior.

Warning signs can be very different and yet not completely precise, which is why it is important to listen to your instincts above all.

When May a Summer Camp Be Held Liable for Sexual Abuse of Campers?

Although an employee or staff member of a summer camp is primarily held liable for the crimes they committed, the summer camp itself may also share liability. A third party, in this instance the summer camp, can be held liable for sexual abuse because they had the responsibility to care for the survivor of the abuse and they failed to do so. If the summer camp fails to care for the camper and take the appropriate measures to eliminate the risk of sexual assault, then the summer camp may be held liable.

When a summer camp does not protect its vulnerable campers and fails to provide adequate supervision and security for the children given into their care, they may also be at fault for any sexual abuse that happens under their supervision. This includes taking adequate precautions in the hiring process and in the supervision of employees thereafter. In a civil lawsuit, survivors may be able to recover monetary compensation and civil damages from the potentially at-fault summer camp.

Contact the Summer Camp Sex Abuse Lawyers at Edwards Pottinger

If you or someone you love is a survivor of summer camp sexual abuse, the summer camp sex abuse lawyers at Edwards Pottinger are here for you. We know how difficult it can be to deal with the aftermath of such devastating acts. The patience it takes to undergo investigations, medical consequences, and emotional trauma can be overwhelming for the survivor and their family. We are here to handle your case with the utmost care, patience, compassion, and diligence to seek the justice and peace of mind you deserve.

Our summer camp sexual abuse attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of survivors and ensuring that they receive the compensation they deserve for the trauma no one should have to endure. Our experienced summer camp sexual assault law firm has the proper background and previous success to adequately represent you in your quest for justice. We can help guide you through the legal process necessary to gain compensation through civil litigation practices and assist in your recovery. Contact the legal team at Edwards Pottinger for a free legal consultation.

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