Local Catholic High School Renames Auditorium

Local Catholic High School Renames Auditorium

When Sister Francis Marie Yocum was a music teacher at The Catholic High School of Baltimore in the 1950s, she wrote the school song. But after her name appeared in the Attorney General’s sex abuse report, her name will no longer be on the school’s auditorium.

In 2012, a 75-year-old woman reported that Yocum sexually abused her in 1954. At the time, the survivor would have been about 16 or 17 years old, according to a recently released report on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. “The sexual abuse took place during the course of a year when the victim would go to her music lessons,” the report stated. “The abuse included kissing and fondling of the victim’s breasts and genitals,” it added.

“The incontrovertible history uncovered by this investigation is one of pervasive, pernicious, and persistent abuse by priests,” said Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown when the report was released. “It’s also a history of repeated cover-up of that abuse by the Catholic Church hierarchy.”

If you or a loved one was sexually abused in school by a faculty or staff member, The Yost Legal Group is here to help (1-800-YOST-LAW). If you are ready to talk, our compassionate sexual abuse survivor attorneys are ready to help.

Types of Sexual Abuse at Schools

The numbers are hard to pin down, but somewhere between 5% and 10% of students at primary and secondary schools experience some form of sexual violence.

Sometimes, a teacher or staffer instigates that violence. The violence could be physical, like rape and kissing, or non-physical, like making sexual comments in front of children or showing children sexually explicit material. Other times, a peer sexually harasses or bullies a classmate. This harassment and bullying often include physical or sexual misconduct.

Such abuse has long-lasting and usually permanent ill effects. Some effects our Baltimore sexual abuse lawyers see most frequently include:

  • Relationship Issues: Sexual abuse survivors usually have trust issues and have a hard time forging connections with other people. These issues affect their professional lives as well as their personal lives.
  • Depression: Shutting down is a natural reaction to sexual abuse. These shutdowns often begin downward spirals. Kids do not feel like going to school, especially if they must be around their abusers. The isolation worsens their depression, and the downward spiral continues.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is especially common among physical abuse survivors and among students who witnessed such conduct. Such extreme stress alters brain chemistry. This chemical imbalance causes symptoms like anxiety, hypervigilance, anger, and nightmares.

Unfortunately, no one can change the past and prevent these incidents from happening. It was not your fault. It never will be your fault.

That is why we are here. When people are ready to talk, we are ready to help. We cannot change the past, but we can help you get justice in the form of monetary compensation as well as the public naming of abusers and institutions that harbored them.

Negligent Hiring Practices in Maryland Schools

Under Maryland law, schools have a responsibility to keep students safe from both adult-on-student and peer-on-peer abuse. Assault and other similar injuries are intentional torts. Schools and school districts could be financially responsible for such acts.

Furthermore, negligent hiring is knowingly hiring an incompetent person to do a job. Turning a blind eye and not asking the right questions is the equivalent of knowingly hiring an individual in this context. 

Screening potential employees is not as easy as it used to be since most people change jobs frequently. Nevertheless, schools have a duty to properly screen workers, and they cannot make excuses for their failure to do so.

Negligent supervision is a failure to properly watch employees. Specifically, the issue could be a failure to keep tabs on employees: failure to properly investigate a misconduct charge or a failure to respond to such charges based on the facts and nothing else.

Furthermore, students are invitees under Maryland’s premises liability law. Therefore, schools have a duty to provide safe environments for their students. If schools knew or should have known about sexual harassment or another injury hazard, they must promptly remove that hazard.

If You Are Ready to Talk, We Are Here to Help

If you or a loved one experienced sexual assault or abuse in school or by a school system employee, you or they are entitled to significant compensation. For a free and confidential consultation with a compassionate sexual abuse lawyer in Baltimore, contact The Yost Legal Group today: 1-800-967-8529.