Boston, MA (December 23, 2021) – The former Dean of Students at Dearborn Middle School, 40-year-old Michael McDonald, was charged with sexual abuse related to misconduct between him and a male student.
According to reports, the alleged abuse between McDonald and the boy began in 2013 when the male student was 15-years-old. Statements from the office of Suffolk District Attorney Racheal Rollins, McDonald faces one count of possession of child sexual abuse materials, one count of dissemination of materials harmful to a minor, one count of posing a child in a state of nudity, and three counts of aggravated child rape.
Although the sexual abuse continued for several years, prosecutors were only able to pursue charges against McDonald based on the conduct that occurred prior to the alleged victim’s 16th birthday due to the laws in Massachusetts.
McDonald pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday, December 20. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim and was also ordered to surrender his passport. It was further ordered that McDonald has no unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 18. McDonald was released without bail at his arraignment.
Sexual Abuse in Massachusetts Schools
One of the leading problems we see in Massachusetts and across the United States is sexual abuse in education. Far too often, schools across our state foster environments that allow sexual predators to prey on innocent children. When people with bad intentions are placed in charge of students, it can have devastating results. In fact, more than 12% of all K-12 students are victims of sexual abuse by teachers.
Nearly one out of every three women and one out of every five men have experienced rape, stalking by an intimate partner, or another type of physical violence. Nearly one out of every eight female victims report that they were raped before the age of ten. One out of every four male rape victims reports that the incident occurred before they reach the age of ten. Although there are many laws in place to prevent these actions from happening, we continue to see victims harmed by people who take advantage of their role as a superior to vulnerable students.
Sexual Abuse is a Problem that is Far-Reaching
Although we want to believe that our children are safe during school hours, there are many instances where children are abused by various people who work in the school district. The unfortunate truth is that the problem of sexual abuse is far-reaching. Our lawyers at the Law Office of Carmen L. Durso have seen many cases where children are abused by the following people:
When students are sexually abused in school or at a place of education, they may have legal options available to help them get justice. In addition to filing criminal charges against abusers, victims are able to pursue civil action against them. Our sexual abuse attorneys in Boston are committed to helping innocent victims hold their abusers to account.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Massachusetts statistics show that nearly one out of every two women and one in every four men have experienced some type of sexual violence other than rape at some point in their lives.
The term sexual abuse is one that covers a variety of misconduct based on the sexual characteristics or gender of a victim. In general, sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual activity perpetrated by force, making threats, or taking advantage of victims who are unable to give legal consent.
Being subjected to sexual abuse is something that can have a life-changing impact on a victim. Although there are many instances where victims are forced to deal with physical consequences, they often experience mental and emotional impacts as well. Regrettably, we are seeing more and more children affected by sexual abuse while in school. An average of three educators are criminally charged every day related to sexual abuse acts. However, accused teachers often escape prosecution, which leaves our children even more vulnerable.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in School
When children experience sexual abuse, they often exert various changes in their behavior. If you believe that your child may be a victim of sexual abuse, there are various signs that you should look out for. Some of the most common indicators of abuse include:
Unexplained problems sleeping, including unexplained nightmares
Experiencing a loss of appetite, refusing to eat, or having problems swallowing
Thinking of their body as “bad” or “dirty”
Sudden mood swings
Suddenly acting extremely insecure
Not wanting to be hugged/touched
Exhibiting knowledge of adult sexual language or behaviors
Drawing, dreaming, writing, or talking about frightening images or sexual actions
A new or unusual fear of a specific person or a place
In addition to the above-mentioned signs, there are various additional signs that teens may exert. These include:
Showing signs of depression
Stop caring about their bodily appearance
Self-injury or harm, including cutting
May wear clothing that hides as much of their body as possible or wears clothes that expose excessive amounts of skin
Drug or alcohol abuse
Being sexually promiscuous
Running away from home
Younger children may exert unusual behaviors or signs of regression. Sometimes, children resort back to thumb-sucking or bed-wetting. There are also instances where children engage in sexually aggressive play, especially with dolls or even with other children. In some instances, children may act agitated or resist going to bed or taking a bath. These actions can be seen any time a child will need to remove their clothes to change them.
What to Do to Help Your Child
If you suspect that your child is being sexually abused by a teacher or someone in their school, it is crucial that you do not overreact. You do not want to criticize or blame your child. Some of the things that you should do include:
Do not demand details from your child about what happened
Listen to what your child tells you in a calm manner
Remember that most children do not lie about instances of sexual abuse
Do not downplay their disclosure
Assure the child that what happened to them is not their fault
Shut down your social media profile and your child’s social media profiles as soon as possible
You will want to seek medical care for your child as soon as possible. Counseling and other mental health services can also help your child deal with the trauma they have been forced to endure. Finally, you will want to notify law enforcement as soon as possible. It is important that you encourage your child to speak with law enforcement.
It can be terrifying for children of any age to speak with the police about what happened to them. Your child may not want to speak about what happened in front of you. However, it is important that you make sure there is an advocate for your child with them when they do speak with the police about what happened to them.
Reach out to our Boston sexual abuse lawyer at the Law Office of Carmen L. Durso as soon as possible. You are going to need strong and dedicated representation to help your child and your entire family move forward. After addressing your child’s health and speaking to law enforcement, it is crucial that you seek guidance from our skilled legal team. We can help you to explore legal options available to help your child move forward after being abused and get the help they need.
Attorneys Here For Sexual Abuse Victims
Every year, thousands of children are subjected to sexual abuse throughout the United States. Although there are a variety of sex crimes that children can be forced to endure, they have a life-altering impact on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of victims. The unfortunate truth is that most instances of sex abuse go unreported. Rather than trying to cope with the impacts of abuse on your own, our Massachusetts sexual abuse lawyers can help you get justice.
Children who are sexually abused in school often experience overwhelming emotional consequences. Many victims and their families are unsure of what they can do moving forward. By working with our sexual abuse lawyers, you can gain valuable resources that can help you move forward.
Some of the ways our law firm helps victims we work with include:
Getting connected: We understand that it can be extremely difficult to step forward and admit abuse. For this reason, our lawyers will help you get connected with law enforcement. We will remain by your side every step of the way to ensure you are able to come forward and make a statement about your abuse. We are committed to helping victims get connected with law enforcement agencies who can investigate the abuse and bring criminal charges against perpetrators.
File legal claims: The state of Massachusetts allows victims who were abused by educators to file legal claims in civil court. Even if an abuser is facing criminal charges, victims can still bring forth personal injury claims to recover compensation for various damages they face.
Gain a team for support: Victims who are sexually abused can benefit greatly by retaining the assistance of a sexual abuse lawyer in Massachusetts as soon as possible. Our team at the Law Office of Carmen L. Durso has decades of experience fighting to protect the legal rights of victims. Not only will do we work to ensure victims we work with get justice, but we will advocate on their behalf to ensure their best interests are protected.
Get Compensation to Help You Move Forward
In Massachusetts, victims of sexual abuse are able to take their abusers to civil court in search of financial compensation. A civil case can be filed against an abuser in addition to, or in lieu of a criminal case. Even if a perpetrator is not criminally convicted, you still have legal options available to help you gain some sense of justice.
Our dedicated attorney will help you get the compensation you need to help alleviate the financial burdens you face after being harmed. Some of the damages you can recover compensation for by filing a sexual abuse lawsuit include:
Medical costs associated with the injuries you suffered during the assault
The costs of counseling and other mental health services
Emotional trauma and mental harm
Our dedicated legal team will fight to help your family get justice.
Attorney Durso Will Fight For You
The unfortunate truth is that nearly 4.5 million children will be abused during their K-12 years. If your family is impacted by sexual abuse, it is crucial that you act quickly to protect your legal rights and get justice. For over five decades, Attorney Carmen Durso has continued to provide caring and experienced representation for children and adult survivors of child sexual abuse. For the past 30-years, Attorney Durso has made helping sexual abuse victims his exclusive focus. While working with our law firm, you can rest assured knowing you will be treated with compassion every step of the way. We are committed to creating a trusting and comfortable environment where you can tell your story.
Our Massachusetts sexual abuse lawyers at the Law Office of Carmen L. Durso have extensive experience helping victims get justice while holding predators and institutions liable for their abuse and cover-up. We have helped hundreds of victims recover from abuse that they have experienced in private, public, religious, and even charter schools. Although we understand that abuse is extremely difficult for victims to talk about, you can be sure that we are here to listen to you.
Our law firm will help you move forward and offer caring and sound counsel that you can trust to get you justice. Contact our law firm today by calling 617-728-9123 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with Attorney Durso to discuss the legal options available for you.
Notes: This post was created through the use of secondary sources. The details surrounding this incident have not been independently verified. If any information is incorrect, contact the Law Office of Carmen L. Durso as soon as possible so that we can correct the post to include the most accurate information available.
Disclaimers: We have provided compassionate legal representation to children, adult survivors of child sex abuse, and people who have been assaulted by an adult for more than 50 years in Massachusetts. None of the information in this post is intended to be medical or legal advice. This is post is not a solicitation for business.