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What if a Child is Sexually Molested at a Day Care Center? (Rights, Causes of Action, and Proceedings)

By Jonathan Safran, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In Wisconsin and other States, day care centers should be safe havens for children. They should be placed where children are well cared for in supportive, nurturing environment. Unfortunately, some day care center employees and volunteers abuse the children under the care of a day care center. These reckless employees and volunteers use their positions of trust to prey on children. Some are caught while many others go undetected only to go on to abuse more children along the way.

When there is abuse (whether violent or sexual in nature) reported or suspected at a day care center, the management at the day care center should take the allegations quite seriously and spring into action. All suspected incidents of abuse and neglect should be reported to the State agency regulating and licensing day care centers. State authorities can take action to investigate the incident and put precautions in place to protect the child and others from any situations where there may be ongoing occurences of abuse, neglect, and / or molestation.

When a child is abused or neglected, there can be the following legan venues in which legal actions can be taken:

Administrative Action. This is where the State social services agency and other government agencies step in to fine the facility, place the facility on suspension, and / or revoke the license of the facility. Action can also be taken to require the day care center and its staff to have additional training and to make recommended repairs and maintence of the facility.

Criminal Action. Law enforcement and prosecutors can file criminal charges against a person if the actions were reckless or intentional in nature. The filing of criminal charges often depends on the evidence and proof that can be admitted to establish the elements of a crime.

Civil Action. This is a private action by the parents of an injured child to seek compensation from the day care center owner, facility, and / or the insurance carrier for damages caused by the abuse, neglect, and / or molestation. The element of a civil case against a day care center are as follows:

1. Duty;

2. Breach of Duty;

3. Causation; and

4. Damages.

It was reported in Madison, Wiscosnin that the State revoked the license of a day care center – Red Caboose Day Care Center. See Day Care Center License Revoked. It was alleged that a volunteer molested a child at the day care center and was allowed to continue to interact with the children even after the incidents were reported to the day care center management.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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