Student Sexually Assaulted During Overnight Soccer Trip

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on February 6, 2017

psychiatric EXPERT WITNESSThis case involves a sixteen-year-old female high school student who was sexually assaulted on an overnight soccer trip. The plaintiff’s soccer team traveled to play a game five hours away, which required the team to stay overnight in a rural hotel close to where the game was played. The team consisted of eighteen girls and two coaches who acted as chaperones to the girls. After the team played their game, they went to dinner and then straight back to the hotel. The team was scheduled to leave the following morning once they checked out of the hotel at 10:00 A.M. The plaintiff awoke early the next morning and decided to go for a run. She found a quiet bicycle path near the hotel and began her run. While out, the plaintiff was sexually assaulted by a thirty-five-year-old male. Further investigation revealed that he was a hotel employee who saw the plaintiff leaving the hotel that morning. She suffered multiple bruises and psychological trauma as a result of the incident.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Should the school have had policies protecting students and should there have been more chaperones?

Expert Witness Response

When on school functions, the coaches and chaperones are responsible for the safety and welfare of the students. Typically, schools have policies in place to make sure the students are accounted for and safe while in the care of school employees. Such policies normally require that a teacher, coach, parent, or other chaperone know where each student is at all times. In this case, the plaintiff was able to leave the hotel without anyone knowing she was gone. A fuller review of the facts is necessary to determine what existing policies the school already had in place to prevent such scenarios from occurring. Whether or not the school had a check-in policy for students, procedures for monitoring their whereabouts, and whether or not these were sufficiently enforced are important factors in determining liability. Furthermore, it does initially appear that more chaperones were necessary in this case because of the number of students. Still, however, the frequency that the team made similar trips for away games and the financial constraints of the team need to be factored into the determination.

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