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Local Former School Teacher, District And Some Employees Face Lawsuit

March 20, 2013
EAGLE POINT, Ore.-A local school district, superintendent, principal and former teacher are all facing a lawsuit in federal court.

The victims’ attorney, Tom Petersen with Black, Chapman, Webber & Stevens, said they are all to blame for the alleged molestation of two local girls.

Joel Heller, a former teacher at a Little Butte Elementary School, is accused of sexually molesting multiple students.[…]

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New Allegations Against E.P. Schools, Former Teacher

March 27, 2013
A former Little Butte Elementary School teacher and counselor being sued for allegedly molesting young girls had a history of inappropriate behavior, according to sworn statements made by two former female students and a parent.

The legal documents will be used as evidence to support a federal civil suit that alleges Joel Heller molested two young girls in his classroom in fall 2011 and that school administrators knew Heller had a pattern of abusive behavior and failed to protect the students, said Tom Petersen, a Medford attorney. Petersen said the incidents involving the former students occurred between 2005 and 2007.[…]

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Jury Awards Justice To Suffering Sexual Abuse Victim

August 2, 2012
Today a Jackson County Jury awarded a client of Tom Petersen $750,000 as a result of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her chiropractor in 2010.

Tom Petersen focuses on civilly prosecuting people who sexually abuse others. Mr. Petersen believes that justice was served by a jury that worked diligently to understand the effect that this type of activity can have on people.[…]

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Tort Claim Filed In Alleged Sex Abuse Case

July 12, 2012
Today a Jackson County Jury awarded a client of Tom Petersen $750,000 as a result of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her chiropractor in 2010.

Tom Petersen focuses on civilly prosecuting people who sexually abuse others. Mr. Petersen believes that justice was served by a jury that worked diligently to understand the effect that this type of activity can have on people.[…]

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Defense abruptly rests without calling Jerry Sandusky

June 20, 2012
Lawyers for Jerry Sandusky abruptly rested their case Wednesday morning without calling the former Penn State University assistant football coach to the stand.

It was an unexpected end to the defense phase of Sandusky’s trial on 51 counts alleging that he abused 10 boys over 15 years.[…]

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Amateur Athletic Union moves to protect young athletes from sex abuse

Jun 12, 2012
(Reuters) – The Amateur Athletic Union on Tuesday announced measures to protect young athletes from sexual abuse after allegations of abuse were raised last year against a former president of the nation’s largest youth sports organization.

The steps resulted from six months of study by two task forces.

They require all adults involved in AAU activities – from volunteer coaches to AAU staff – to undergo detailed background checks. This includes all current members of the staff or volunteers as well as those who come to the organization in the future.
[…]

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Child sex-abuse cases under-reported, often ignored

Jun 12, 2012
Oregon recently passed a law that could make it easier to recognize sexual misconduct. The law, cited as a model, could stop abuse in its early stages. Recent changes in Oregon law were made because of the Sandusky case, officials said.

A ninth-grade boy at Pittsburgh’s Vincentian High School had a secret. He’d changed a grade on his report card, but soon his basketball coach discovered the deceit. For weeks, the coach summoned him from gym class and the cafeteria to his office, where he prodded: What would the boy do for the coach to keep the secret?
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Cardinal Authorized Payments to Sexually Abusive Priests

May 31, 2012
Priests accused of sexual abuse offered up to $20,000 to leave the church quietly, say a new report in New York Magazine.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Authorized Payments to Sexually Abusive Priests
By Joe Coscarelli at New York Magazine

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan approved payments of up to $20,000 for priests accused of sexual abuse to go away quietly while he was the archbishop of Milwaukee, the New YorkTimes reports, despite calling past accusations about payoffs “false, preposterous and unjust.”
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Priests in Pa. child sex-abuse case created a list of suspected clergy back in 1994

May 24, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — A priest assigned to help handle child sex-abuse complaints at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia told jurors Tuesday that Monsignor William Lynn was the only other person who could have created a typed list of suspected pedophile priests.

Monsignor James Beisel’s testimony came as the defense began its case in Lynn’s child-endangerment and conspiracy trial. Rev. James Brennan also is on trial, charged with molesting a teenager.
[…]

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Child Abuse Hotline Calls Up Since Sandusky Case

May 2, 2012
TRENTON — New Jersey’s child abuse hotline has been flooded with phone calls since the Penn State sexual abuse scandal shocked the nation late last year, according to Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake.

The number of calls soared to as many as 750 a day in November, when a Pennsylvania grand jury indicted former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, said Kristine Brown, spokeswoman for the state Department of Children and Families. It rarely topped 400 a day in the two months before the scandal broke out, she added.
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Defrocked Priest Pleads Guilty in Child Sexual Abuse Case

April 24, 2012
Philadelphia (CNN) — Attorneys in the child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial of two Philadelphia priests debated Monday over which potential witnesses jurors would be allowed to hear regarding a third defendant who pleaded guilty to molesting boys just days before opening remarks.
Defrocked priest Edward Avery of the Philadelphia Archdiocese pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of child after admitting that he sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-1999 school year. Avery, 69, was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years.
[…]

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Oregon sex abuse case highlights teacher-student texting debate

April 3, 2012
This case out of Bend raises many questions and concerns about student-teacher texting. Should students be individually texting their teachers? Post your comments and concerns here.

BEND, Ore. (AP) – The text messages, some flirty, from the leader of a Central Oregon charter school who is accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl, have raised a question about teacher-student boundaries and new technology: Should teachers send individual texts to students?
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Tom Petersen lends his expertise to a KTVL10 special report on Sexual Abuse in Schools.

February 16, 2012
Tom Petersen, partner with Black, Chapman, Webber and Stevens and resident sexual abuse attorney, lends his voice to a KTVL News Channel 10 special report on sex abuse in area schools. If you missed the series titled Between the Cracks you can watch the videos below. Tom’s segment is in the second video.
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Lawsuit Settled Against Medford and Phoenix-Talent School Districts

November 28, 2011
MEDFORD, Ore. — Families of children who say two Southern Oregon teachers inappropriately touched them have settled lawsuits with the school districts.

Chris Gilman from the Medford School District and George Kuhns from Phoenix-Talent were fired last year after accusations of inappropriate behavior, but that wasn’t the first time Gilman was accused of inappropriate touching. Families of the victims are asking why the school district allowed it to happen again.
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Ashland man joins abuse victims on ‘Oprah’

November 6, 2010
Ashland contractor Randy Ellison and his wife, Helen, participated in a two-part Oprah Winfrey series on male sexual-abuse survivors, which airs today and next Friday. Each of the 200 male participants were asked to bring a picture of themselves taken during the beginning of their abuse. The men were asked to hold their photos in front of themselves for the opening shot of the “Oprah” episode, Helen Ellison said.
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Family Sues over Sex Abuse Allegations

November 6, 2010
The family of an Orchard Hill Elementary School kindergartener who accused her teacher of sexual abusing her last year and making a “pinky promise” with her not to tell has filed a federal lawsuit against the teacher, the school district and two administrators.

Filed Friday in U.S. District Court, the $6 million civil suit made public Monday alleges that Phoenix-Talent School District officials hired and kept teacher George Kuhn unsupervised in the classroom despite past complaints about inappropriate conduct with students.
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Recognizing And Reporting Sexual Abuse Of Children

November 6, 2010
News media reports of sex abuse are on the rise. As the public’s interest in the subject peaks, health care professionals should be aware of their legal obligation to investigate and report suspected child sex abuse to law enforcement authorities. This office recently settled a case for a girl who was injured by sexual abuse, prompting us to address this disturbing topic here.

The child sex abuse offenses in Oregon and California include subjecting a child to any sexual contact, including any intentional touching of intimate parts of a child, or of the perpetrator by the child, for purposes of sexual arousal or gratification. Offenses also include any participation in the production, possession, paying for or sale of visual recordings of sexually explicit conduct involving a child, or paying to observe such conduct, for the purposes of sexual arousal or gratification. In California, masturbation in the presence of a child is also an offense.
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