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What are the Risks of Tutors, Dance Teachers, and Music Teachers to Children?

By Robert Erben, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In most communities, there are dedicated and sincere individuals who devote a great deal of time to the education and betterment of children. Tutors, dance teachers, and music teachers certainly help enrich the lives of children lucky enough to get tutelage and instruction in the academics and / or the arts. Lessons and practices are frequently done after school and weekends. Many such sessions occur at the home of the child, home of the teacher or tutor, or another location. Often times, a child is left alone with the teacher or tutor. It should be noted that the majority of tutors and teachers are kind hearted individuals who truly care about the well being, safety, and advancement of the child’s education.

Unfortunately, there are molesters and predators who use these very positions of trust to prey on child. These molesters and predators are very clever and are able to play the trusted individual only to abuse, neglect, or molest the children entrusted to their care, supervision, and education.

It is difficult for a parent to pick out a predator or molester from the “good” men and women who are truly committed to the betterment of children. However, there are some steps that can be taken to lessen the risk. It should be noted that many predators or molesters have not been caught or arrested in the past and do an amazing job of masking their intent and crimes; however, missteps and mistakes often present themselves that may help parents uncover the predator’s true colors.

Background Check. A parent can contact an employment agency or investigator to have a criminal background check performed. In addition, a parent can ask the teacher or tutor for background information. If the teacher or tutor becomes so greatly offended by such a request, that may be a warning sign by itself.

References. Ask the teacher for references. While the teacher or tutor will provide only good references, it is still a reasonable and necessary step to take to check out the teacher or tutor who will be trusted with the education of your child.

Parental Supervision. Parents can sit in on most tutoring sessions and music lessons. One way to prevent abuse or molestation is to always be present when your child is with the teacher or tutor. This will be a benefit to both the child and the teacher as it will also avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Beware of Warning Signs. There are and should be boundaries to be maintained between teacher – tutor and child. When the boundaries are blurred, parents should be wary and careful as these could be opportunities for a predator or molester to step in and harm a child. Warning Signs could include frequent phone calls, frequent e-mails, frequent text messages, meetings or get togethers outside of teaching or tutoring sessions, gifts, trips, money, etc. . .

It certainly is a shame that a few “bad apples” tarnish the good name and profession of the many fine tutors, teachers, and mentors out there who truly do care about children. In Colorado, the arrest of an accused child molester was reported. The Daily Sentinel reported that James David Tiner, a music teacher, who gave lessons at his home was arrested in Colorado. It was reported that Mr. Tiner offered music lessons at his home by putting advertisements in newspapers in 2009 and 2010. He is accused of assaulting an 8 year old girl. It was reported that he was located through a FBI manhunt. You can read more about this story at Music Teacher Accused of Sexual Assault Arrested in Colorado. Mr. Tiner will be entitled to representation from a criminal defense attorney or the public defender’s office. There were no details in the recent articles as to the type, strength, or quantity of evidence secured by investigators against Mr. Tiner.

When a child is injured as a result of the fault of another person, school, day care center, or other person/entity, a parent will be faced with many challenges in seeking justice and compensation on behalf of the injured child. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Medical Treatment and Bills, School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.