Several weeks ago, police arrested two teachers at Plum High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for allegedly having sex with students. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for a teacher to engage in sexual contact with a student, even if the student is 18 years-old. As a result, teachers Jason Cooper and Joseph Ruggieri are charged with institutional sexual assault.
After the story first broke, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office reported troubling allegations regarding Plum School District employees’ awareness of the sexual relationships. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala told reporters that it may have been “common knowledge” that teachers were having sex with students at the High School. If this allegation is true, Cooper and Ruggieri’s victims may have strong Title IX claims against the School District for “deliberate indifference” to a sexually hostile educational environment.
Title IX cases against public education institutions has resulted in significant settlements for sexual abuse and assault victims in the last several years. Several years ago, for example, the University of Colorado paid two women more than $2 million to settle Title IX claims against the University after the women were gang raped by football players and high-school football recruits at a party.
Andreozzi + Foote has successfully represented several victims in Title IX lawsuits against public schools. Our firm specializes in representing victims of sexual, violent, and financial crimes in civil lawsuits. Our firm is best known for its work on behalf of sexual abuse victims, including representing 11 of Jerry Sandusky’s victims. We are also representing the families of murdered love ones in several cases. If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of a crime and are interested in exploring a potential civil lawsuit, please contact me immediately at [email protected].