Hi. This is hard to talk about. Specially since I kept it a secret for a long time. I don't where to start. I guess I can give some background information. When I was in 8th grade, there was this guy that was know to touch girls inappropriate. It was everyone that I talked to. I only got a little bit of things. He has tried to touch me in my vagina area during reading class. I was lucky that I moved before he could touch me. I reported him to the teacher, the principal and guidance counselor. I have thinking about this a lot lately because he never got in trouble for it. Can I report this as sexual harassment to the police? If so, then Can I still report it since it was two years ago? Please help.
Posts: 5 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Dec 2008
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Farmgirl, I am very sorry that happened to you and your friends. Your school's response was completely inappropriate and inadequate. I'm not entirely clear on Pennsylvania's statute of limitations in this instance. Did you ever tell your parents about it when it happened? If so, you may ask them to go with you to the police. They may also contact a lawyer to see what the options are in this case. I'm sorry I can't help you more with the legal aspects of this. One place you may also call is RAINN (1-800-656-HOPE). It's an anonymous hotline for victims of rape, abuse, and incest and their loved ones. They may be able to better inform you of your options or connect you with someone in your area who can tell you more.
Have you spoken to anyone about this harrassment? How are you feeling in terms of all of it?
[ 03-07-2009, 03:36 PM: Message edited by: orca ]
-------------------- Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007
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For various reasons, I do actually know that the statue of limitation for a misdemeanor sex offense, such as harassment is two years. But, if there is a group of you who would like to pursue some action, the most likely way to do so would be to go for a civil suite against the school. Such an action would likely force your school to admit wrongdoing, and actively change their policy to deal with such issues. There was actually just very recently a supreme court case that decided that the constitution does protect against gender-based harassment in schools, and schools are legally required to do something about it (the particular case was about an 8 year old on a bus, but the circumstances are similar enough). I know that may not be something you want to do, but if you are able to make a case that the school knew about what was going on, you could probably easily (without going to trial--this type of thing would likely settle out of court) get the school to change its policies.
The first step in pursuing legal action like this would be to talk to your parents about it, and then other girls who experienced the same thing and their parents. The next step would be to contact the local ACLU chapter for representation.
If you have some more questions about what legal action might look like, feel free to ask me, though I won't be around much until Monday.
Posts: 2262 | From: in transition | Registered: Apr 2008
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Hey Farmgirl: I'm also in Pennsylvania, and am in a program now studying to become a teacher. Just wanted to add a little bit of information in here as well. First of all, your school is required by law to have in place policies for handling something such as this, and it's surprising that they obviously didn't follow them here. So my first question to you is do your parents know? I see you said that you kept it a secret for a long time, so if they don't know now would be a good time to go to them. They're going to be your biggest help in all of this.
As well, because this happened at school, a first step before getting a group together to go to ACLU would probably be to get some information on all of this and on the main statute laws that surround it because you did tell the school and the school did nothing. There's a group called ERA which has a counseling and information hotline to give information on cases such as this that have happened in the school. Their number is 1-800-839-4372. If you're a minor you'll want your parent or guardian to call. They have lawyers that they work with and can give you information based anything specific that you can tell them. Also, the information can be lined with PA laws and statutes with the fact that school didn't act on what information they were given.
Thank you for all your help. I haven't told my parents anything about it. I really don't want to tell my dad because he will freak out. I have talk to one or two of my friends about this. They were also were being touch by this guy. We all feel the same way about what had happened. I guess I will have to seat down with my mom this weekend about it.
That's a good first place to turn. Moms can be really supportive. Just know that the conversation may be difficult, and you may find that you'll need a little down time, or that you don't want to tell everything all at one time. So kind of follow your feelings per what you're ready to handle. And know too, that if you find you're wanting to talk about how your feeling after talking to her, we're here for you.
-------------------- "Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon Posts: 3429 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2008
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