Police took David Lowe, 54, into custody last Tuesday on suspicion of secretly filming his disabled daughter’s caregivers when they used the restroom or changed their clothes. The arrest for invasion of privacy came following a yearlong sexual abuse investigation of the Orange County videographer that started when one of the caregivers saw images of herself on Lowe’s computer.

abuse lawsuit

Brea Police Lt. Darrin Devereux issued a detailed statement of sexual abuse allegations against Lowe. He stands accused of filming at least ten caregivers who were employed in overseeing his mentally impaired adult daughter. In addition to his hidden cameras, Lowe employed special ruses such as requesting caregivers to help his daughter in learning to fasten a bra by demonstration. The caregivers who acquiesced to the request were then secretly recorded as they gave step-by-step instructions while partly nude.

The investigation into Lowe’s actions included a search of his home computers, located in the 900 block of East Almond Avenue in Brea, California. During this search, police found images of child pornography in addition to what has been listed as “numerous videos” of the employed caregivers.

Lowe’s attorney declined to comment to news reporters following his Thursday court hearing. Lowe is being held on a $50,000 bail and is due back in court on Tuesday. He faces one felony charge of possessing child pornography and ten misdemeanor counts of invading someone’s privacy by use of a camera or similar recording device.

Lt. Deveraux closed his statement on the case by stating, “We believe there are many other caregivers that may have worked for Mr. Lowe and if they think they have disrobed in his home, that they’re asked to call the Brea Police Department.

Any caregiver employed who has worked in Lowe’s home is being requested to contact Detective Irene Crews at irenec@cityofbrea.net.

In additions to facing criminal sexual abuse charges, Lowe is also likely to face civil lawsuits from those caregivers whom he photographed. These are cases of invasion of privacy in which victims may have suffered emotionally, physically, or otherwise.

Those who are unknowingly photographed in unwanted situations may be able to recover financial compensation for the harm suffered from the defendant. Certain invasion of privacy civil lawsuits may also be able to seek punitive damages, which are damages designed to punish the defendant and set a sharp example for others, such as low-wage caregivers requiring special protections for their intimate work.

If you have been injured or abused and are in need of a personal injury lawyer in Torrance or Los Angeles, please contact the Booth & Koskoff office nearest you for a free personal injury case evaluation.

Source: LA Times, 21 July 2016

Top executives at the USA Gymnastics organizations, a leading Olympic organizations, failed to alert outside authorities of the many sexual abuse allegations against its coaches–relying instead on policies that enable predators to sexually abuse and molest gymnasts long after executives received warnings.

usa gymnastics sexual abuse

The unveiling of such allegations come after an IndyStar investigation uncovered several instances of children suffering the consequences, This includes the release of a ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuit filed in 2013 by a former gymnast who had been secretly videotaped by former coach William McCabe whilst changing. This lawsuit claims USA Gymnastics was negligent as it had received four prior sexual abuse complaints against McCabe but allowed him to continue coaching in ‘good standing’, enabling him to work with the then-11-year-old defendant.

The larger story appears to repeat many of the same elements at play in the 2011 Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State. In both cases, the institutions appear more interested in protecting their reputations and the coaches than those they reportedly exist to serve. This includes a failure to report on the terrible crimes occurring on their properties.

U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun says the organization has no plans to investigate current allegations raised against authorities who failed to act on sexual abuse allegations, including current USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny and former USAG head Robert Colarossi.

“We do not intend to investigate. We couldn’t possibly investigate allegations of misconduct in 47 different (national governing bodies). We do what I think is a pretty state-of-the-art policy regarding abuse and misconduct, not just sexual misconduct, so we will watch those proceedings,” Blackmun said Friday.

This does little to console those victims who watched their abusers remain in positions of authority for far too long. Such is the case of former U.S. national team coach Doug Boger who has been accused of sexually or physically abusing at least 10 former gymnasts. One of the accusers, Charmaine Carnes, told reporters she was sexually abused by Boeger starting when she was 8 or 9-years-old and that such abuse continued until she was well into her teens.

In a recent interview, Carnes compared the situation to the Catholic Church wherein coaches know that the institution by large favors their side and will enable them to get away with abuse.

If someone you love is being abused within an institution, it’s time to take a stand. Contact our personal injury attorneys today.

A private Los Angeles school is going on the offensive in response to a recent lawsuit regarding teachers abusing students. The Marlborough School contends that a former victim of the teacher could have prevented other students’ sexual abuses, namely the plaintiff in the current lawsuit, had she come forward.

marlborough school abuse lawsuit

The plaintiff is a victim of the charged teachers abusing students Joseph Thomas Koetters. The former English teacher pled guilty to four criminal counts in 2015 as part of a plea deal requiring him to register as a sex offender and spend a year in county jail. The charges stem from two accounts of sexual abuse during the teacher’s position at Marlborough; one teenage girl in 2000 and another girl in 2004.

It is the 2000 victim who has filed the negligence lawsuit against the private California school. As a 16-year-old student at Marlborough, she became pregnant with Koetter’s child when he engaged in sex acts with her between 2000 and 2002. The pregnancy ultimately ended in a miscarriage.

The current lawsuit filed April 2015 alleges that the Marlborough School is responsible for the resulting sexual abuse by hiring in Koetters in 1999 despite knowing he had faced accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct while employed at another school. The lawsuit additionally alleges that the school is responsible for the psychological trauma the student experienced once the abuse ended.

The late filing of the lawsuit has been accounted for the plaintiff being “in denial for many years about the cause of her psychological distress.” She discovered the connection in 2014 following an online essay detailing another student’s sexual abuse experience with the teacher and the resulting identification of Koetters as the teacher involved.

However, the school’s lawyers are responded to this assertion stating that the plaintiff told a psychiatrist in 2009 about the pregnancy, miscarriage, and the “resulting psychological injury”, but made the choice not to report the teachers abusing students incident to either the police or the school.

“This, Plaintiff consciously exposed other girls to the risk of abuse at Koetters’ hands,” the filing summarized.

In response to contentions that this is an attempt to blame the sexual abuse victim, the school’s attorney, Michael Swartz, stated, “The contributory negligence defense laid out in the filing is a standard defense to a negligent supervision claim and will be based on events that took place when the plaintiff was an adult.” (LA Times, 24 March 2016)

We have often seen this type of victim blaming during the legal process. It is typically a last grasp at passing the blame to someone other than the abuser and employer. It often takes years, sometimes decades, to report abuse.

If you have been injured or abused and are in need of a personal injury lawyer in Torrance or Los Angeles, please contact the Booth & Koskoff office nearest you for a free personal injury case evaluation.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge rejected a bid Monday, July 18 to dismiss charges against former county social workers and their supervisors, all of whom are charged with child abuse and falsifying records relating to the foster abuse death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez.

gabriel fernandez death

The attorneys for the defendants, Stefanie Rodriguez, 31, Kevin Bom, 37, Gregory Merritt, 60, and Patricia Clement, 65, had filed court papers maintaining that the three-year statute of limitations for the foster abuse related charges applied to the case, and thus the charges had expired.

Deputy District Attorney Ana Maria Lopez countered the proposal by underscoring the fact of the defendants being public employees engaged in misconduct and as such had a legal duty extending to the date of Gabriel’s death, May 24, 2013. Lopez affirmed that due to this the charges were brought well within the statute of limitations.

Judge M.L. Villar ruled in favor of Lopez and denied both the defense’s motion to dismiss due to the statute of limitations and the claimant of there being insufficient legal basis for the charges. Following Villar’s refusal to dismiss, the four co-defendants pleaded not guilty to all counts and the next hearing has been scheduled for August 25.

The Los Angeles County prosecutors allege that the four co-defendants minimized injuries that the young Gabriel suffered for eight months leading up to his death. Allegedly, despite knowing the severity of the foster abuse, he was allowed to remain at home with his torturers — mother Pearl Fernandez, 31, and former boyfriend Isauro Aguirre, 35. The state will bring forth information obtained in an investigation revealing that Gabriel–among other violent abuse acts–had been forced to eat his own vomit, soaked with pepper spray, and locked in a closet while his mouth was stuffed with a sock to smother his screams.

Following the release of this internal investigation, all four co-defendants were fired. However, Merritt appealed his firing, was reinstated by the Civil Service Commission, and has that matter currently being appealed by the state. If convicted, all defendants face up to 10 years in prison.

This is a critical case as it goes beyond holding just the perpetrators of parental and foster abuse accountable, but also seeks to hold accountable those individuals with authority to halt abuse, but don’t. Victims of parental and foster abuse deserve justice from both their attackers and those who covered up the crimes.

If you have been injured or abused and are in need of a personal injury lawyer in Torrance or Los Angeles, please contact the Booth & Koskoff office nearest you for a free personal injury case evaluation.

sexual abuse at school
What happens after sexual abuse at school is reported?

After abuse is reported, there will be an investigation by the police or social services. If abuse is found, criminal charges will be filed. This will trigger an arrest, bail proceedings, pleas, and eventually a trial if the abuser does not plead guilty. If found guilty by jury, the abuser will be sentenced, which can include any or all of the following: sex offender registration, jail time, fines, restitution, community service.

The abuser, and any liable parties, may also be sued in civil court. Civil court is where you may recover a settlement or award for any damages, including mental suffering, physical impairment, humiliation or emotional distress. The financial costs of these cases to school districts are staggering. LAUSD has paid more than $300 million to victims since 2012.

If your child is abused at school, they have a legal right to continue to attend school, be protected from the abuser, and from any repercussions or harassment by teachers or fellow students. This law is part of Title IX, and applies to every student attending a school that receives public funding.

Title IX even applies to non-sexual contact by a teacher that makes a student uncomfortable, such as frequent touching or hugging because this could create a hostile environment where the student finds it difficult to learn. The burden of fulfilling this duty is on the school, not the victim. They are responsible for reporting the abuse and protecting the student.

Many abuse victims can suffer PTSD, substance abuse, anxiety, and other mental health issue after abuse. It’s imperative that they receive treatment and counseling to help deal with any issues that arise from the abuse. Some of these issues may not occur until many years after the abuse. For more about recovering from abuse, please see our series: Healing from Abuse.

Further Reading: Why Should I Sue My Abuser?