According to the Florida Sun Sentinel in 2005, teacher Blake Sinrod, was accused of molesting four third grade students at Coral Sunset Elementary School. He fondled the four girls in his classroom during their reading groups, a classroom movie, and he would also instruct them to touch his genitals or he would he would place their hands on his genitals over his clothes. After a 12-year-old lawsuit, the Palm Beach County School District gave the approval for a $3.6 million settlement.
Mr. Blake Sinrod was fired from Coral Sunset Elementary in 2006 and his teaching license was revoked in 2008. Mr. Sinrod plead guilty in 2006 to molesting two of the four girls but the four families persisted in filing a joint civil suit against the school district. According to file from 2006, the defense used by Mr. Dale Friedman, the defense attorney, was that the victims were old enough to understand the consequences of of their actions and conducted themselves in careless and negligent minor. The parents of the four victims could not believe this was the defense tactic used by the school district.
Attorney Dale Friedman, told the Sun Sentinel that the district’s outrageous claim was used in an effort to reduce potential damages the district might have to pay out, a tactic she referred to as “comparative negligence.” Friedman insists, “We have never blamed the girls or given them the appearance of holding the girls responsible for what their teacher did.” But this defense only weakened the defense’s case further because it re-victimized the victims. According to Mr. Jeffrey Herman, an attorney who represents victims of sexual abuse, explained that he had never witnessed the use of such a defense and the fact that the school district was blaming the four girls of what happened to them would remain as permanent record of the case.
However, when the parents of the four third grade students filed a civil law suit in 2006, their lawyer at the time, Charles Bechert, said that the parents believed their children were preyed upon in part because they were immigrants and that perhaps the teacher thought their parents would not know how to report the crimes, or feel comfortable doing so. This is something that continues to happen to children all over the world but children do not speak out about it because of fear of their families being deported or hurt in any form.
According to 7 News what infuriated the parents of the victims and their attorneys is that the school district failed to investigate or take proper action against Blake Sinrod in the sexual molestation incidents in 2003. The Sun Sentinel reports that the school district also uses as its defense that Mr. Sinrod’s actions were unknown and beyond the foresight of a reasonably prudent person. But this insufficient for both the parents of the victims and their attorneys because they do not understand how the School District did not think that this man was a danger to the students and why he was not revoked of his teaching license from that very moment.