Fighting for Survivors of Student Sexual Abuse

If you or someone you love were sexually abused at a school in Maryland, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and financial compensation for your damages.

Thanks to recently passed legislation, survivors of childhood sexual abuse now have unprecedented opportunities to seek justice. Maryland’s new law, which takes effect on October 1, 2023, allows survivors who were sexually abused as minors at any time in the past to file civil lawsuits against responsible institutions. This includes public and private schools that failed to protect them.

Levy Konigsberg is a nationally recognized trial practice known for litigating sexual abuse lawsuits. Now, we’re helping a growing number of survivors explore their legal options for bringing Maryland child sexual abuse lawsuits under the state’s new law. If you have a potential case, we want to help.

Have questions about filing a civil lawsuit over sexual abuse in a Maryland school? Call or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.

New Maryland Law Opens the Door for School Sexual Abuse Survivors

Maryland has been a frontrunner in passing legislation that greatly expands the rights of sexual abuse survivors – and especially survivors of child sexual abuse.

Thanks to the Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in April 2023 by Governor Wes Moore, survivors who were sexually abused as minors in Maryland now have unprecedented opportunities to pursue justice against their abusers and any institutions that failed to protect them.

Here are some key details about Child Victims Act of 2023:

  • The CVA eliminates the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits based on child sexual abuse, which means that there is no deadline by which survivors must initiate legal action.
  • The CVA creates an unlimited lookback period that allows child sexual abuse survivors to file lawsuits over abuse that occurred at any time in the past, even if such claims were barred by the previous statute of limitations.

The Child Victims Act went into effect on October 1, 2023, and institutions with long histories of child sexual abuse – such as the Catholic Church’s Baltimore Archdiocese and Maryland juvenile detention centers – are already seeing a growing number of lawsuits brought by survivors abused years and decades ago.

preparing for what will likely be a flood of claims brought by survivors abused years and decades ago.

At Levy Konigsberg, our award-winning attorneys are helping a growing number of survivors in Maryland learn more about their rights and options under Maryland’s Child Victims Act. If you have questions about a potential school sexual abuse case and whether you can file a civil lawsuit, we’re available to help.

Sex Abuse Scandals in Maryland Schools

In recent years, schools across Maryland have been embroiled in sex abuse scandals. Through investigations, public record releases, and legal filings, we know that these and other schools across the state have struggled with pervasive sexual abuse problems for years, and that school officials have routinely faced claims related to their negligence in protecting students, improper hiring and supervision of employees and teachers, and failures to adequately handle allegations.

Some examples include:

  • In July 2023, Karl Houston Walls, a former teacher at Northeast High School in Pasadena, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing two students. In addition to incidents that occurred on school property, Walls is also accused of holding a knife against one of the victims.
  • In February 2023, Chris Bendann, a former teacher at Gilman School in Roland Park, was indicted on 16 counts of sexual abuse, rape, and other sexual offenses involving a minor. Bendann who was taught social studies at the private, all-boys school from 2007 to 2023, is accused of sexually harassing and molesting a student between 2016-2019 and engaging in inappropriate behavior with other students. Just two years prior, two other Gilman School employees were accused of sexually abusing students after an investigative report revealed instances dating back to the 1950s in which school officials failed to report abusive staff despite being aware of allegations. The report includes findings that former science teacher and baseball coach Dr. Martin Meloy abused at least 13 students during his tenure, and that Thomas Offutt, a Gilman employee from 1954 to 1956 and member of a prominent business family, abused at least seven students.
  • In June 2022, Kirkland Shipley, a former teacher at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, pleaded guilty to charges of sexually abusing a student and possessing sexually explicit material of a former student. According to the DOJ, evidence showed that between May 2014 and June 2018, Shipley sexually abused a female student on at least two occasions at his D.C. home while he was her teacher and rowing coach and exchanged explicit videos and pictures with the student beginning in 2013. Shipley had worked at Walt Whitman since 2001.
  • In January 2019, an investigation into the Key School in Annapolis found that the private school fostered a “toxic culture” in which 10 teachers and school employees sexually abused female students in the 1970s. The investigation, which was launched after multiple former students stepped forward with claims that they were sexually abused by teachers in the 1970s, also found that faculty members, administrators, and board members who were aware of the abuse chose not to intervene and failed to protect students.
  • In April 2019, an investigation into the history of sexual assault allegations at McDonogh School in Owing Mills found evidence that at least five former faculty members sexually assaulted two dozen students over several decades. The investigation, which focused on claims against staff from the 1940s to mid-1980s, was launched after a former student stepped forward in 2016 with claims that he was sexually abused by former faculty members Alvin J. Levy and Robert E. Creed. The investigation found evidence that Levy, who was indicted in 1992 on sexual abuse charges, and Creed, who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges in 1985, abused at least 19 other male students over a period of four decades, as well as evidence that three other male faculty members sexually assaulted five female students between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s.
  • In December 2018, Russell Isaac was arrested on multiple counts of rape and other sex offenses related to his sexual abuse of two female students at the W.C. Moffett School in Barclay in Queen Anne’s County in the late 1960s. Both students were assaulted by Moffett between 1966 and 1968 when he was principal of the school, and authorities suspect that there are other victims.

Do I Have a Case?

Maryland’s new law gives child sexual abuse survivors new opportunities to come forward and file civil lawsuits – no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

This means that you may have grounds to file a lawsuit if:

  • You were sexually abused by a teacher, counselor, or other staff member at a private or public school.
  • The abuse occurred at any school in Maryland at any time in the past.

At Levy Konigsberg, we support survivors in civil actions that aim to hold private and public school systems accountable for their failures to protect abusive faculty and staff and protect young students.

As civil claims, these cases are separate from any criminal proceedings that may arise from abuse and focus instead on holding institutions liable for damages. This means you may still have a claim even if:

  • Your abuser is no longer alive.
  • Your abuser was never charged or convicted of a crime.

Recoverable Damages in Sexual Abuse Claims

In addition to providing accountability and a sense of justice, civil sex abuse lawsuits allow survivors to recover financial compensation for their damages, which may include:

  • Past medical and mental health expenses
  • Future mental health expenses, including therapy, medications, etc.
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish and psychological harm
  • Lost income
  • Other economic and non-economic damages

Under the Maryland Child Victims Act, the statutory cap on civil damages for child sexual abuse was increased. Under the new law, survivors can recover up to $1.5 million in non-economic damages, such as emotional anguish and pain and suffering, when filing against a private institution, and up to $890,000 in non-economic damages against public and government entities. The cap applies to each incident of abuse and no cap is placed on economic or punitive damages.

Our attorneys at Levy Konigsberg know that child sexual abuse has profound and lifelong consequences, especially when it is committed by people in positions of trust and authority. We can evaluate the potential value of your claim and discuss how we can fight for the maximum recovery possible during a consultation.

Call For a FREE Consultation:

Levy Konigsberg is a top-rated trial practice that’s recovered over $3 billion in compensation for clients. Led by award-winning lawyers, we’ve built a legacy for litigating high-stakes sexual abuse lawsuits on behalf of survivors across Maryland and the U.S., and for our ability to take on powerful private and public institutions that failed to protect victims.

If you have questions about pursuing a sexual abuse lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred in any private or public Maryland school, we want to help. We serve survivors statewide and work on contingency, which means there’s no cost to hire our team and no fee unless we win.

Call or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.


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