An athletic and physical trainer at local Birmingham Charter High School in Lake Balboa, California, was arrested earlier this week for inappropriately touching a student, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Detectives believe additional victims assaulted by the athletic trainer may have yet to be identified.
Law enforcement officials received a call of a sexual assault at Birmingham High School in the West Valley Area on September 20. Richard Turner, 64, was arrested Wednesday for 289(A)(1) PC Forcible Penetration with a Foreign Object. His case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for the consideration of filing charges, local KTLA reported.
Police were reportedly dispatched to the high school on Tuesday when a minor student reported being inappropriately touched by Turner, police confirmed via a news release.
“Richard Turner’s alleged conduct is reprehensible and totally contrary to Birmingham Community Charter High School’s mission, values and the way we run our school.” Ari Bennett, Principal of Birmingham High School, said to McClatchy News. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the student and student’s family who have been impacted by this. As always, our focus is on providing our students with a safe learning environment and the academic and developmental support they need to be successful students at Birmingham and beyond.”
“Birmingham is cooperating with law enforcement during the course of its investigation. Given privacy and other concerns we are not able to make any further comment at the present time,” Bennett added.
Turner is currently being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the LAPD Valley Jail in Van Nuys.
Police also indicated they have located at least one other victim harmed by Turner – a minor touched by the athletic trainer in 2017. At the time. Turner worked at Van Nuys High School. Investigators, however, have indicated they believe there may be many additional victims who were harmed by Turner.
Anyone with information related to a crime committed by Turner or a possible victim harmed by him over the years is urged to contact the LAPD Juvenile Division detectives at 818-374-5415.
During non-business hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.
How Can You Tell if a Child is Being Sexually Abused?
While there is no straightforward litmus test to determine whether or not a child is being sexually abused by a teacher or coach, certain warning signs have been identified by various organizations, including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
Firstly, it’s important to address what parents should do if a child reports an incident of sexual abuse:
- Listen carefully to what they’re saying
- Let them know they’ve done the right thing by telling you
- Tell them it’s not their fault
- Say you’ll take them seriously
- Don’t confront the alleged abuser
- Explain what you’ll do next
- Report what the child has told you as soon as possible
“After empathizing with and supporting a child who comes forward with an allegation of sexual abuse, the next most important thing you can do is report the claim to the proper authorities. The vast majority of sex crimes sadly go unreported, and it’s important that reports are filed with law enforcement as soon as possible after a child makes an allegation. Once a report has been filed, you may proceed with a separate civil claim (in addition to any criminal charges that may be filed) in pursuit of maximum financial compensation,” Moses Castillo, Dordulian Law Group’s Chief Investigator and a retired 30-year LAPD detective, says.
Potential Warning Signs for Parents to Look For
The sad fact is that approximately 93% of sexual abuse survivors know their perpetrators. With that in mind, parents should be vigilant when outsiders – even those who you may know fairly well – try to spend inordinate amounts of time with your children.
“It’s important for parents to realize that the majority of sexual predators aren’t strangers, but someone close to the child and the child’s family. Whether it’s a coach, teacher, clergy member, family friend, or even a close relative, most childhood sexual abuse is committed by a familiar face,” Detective Castillo said.
“If an adult makes regular efforts to spend more time (typically alone) with your child than you do as their parent, that’s a red flag,” Castillo added. “Premeditated attempts to get a child alone – whether to go out for ice cream, take a trip to an amusement park, the movies, etc. – are situations that can be conducive to sexual abuse.”
“It’s also important to remember that sexual predators are notorious for seeking out positions (whether as a professional or volunteer) that allow them access to children. Granted, 95% of coaches, teachers, clergy, volunteers at religious institutions, etc. are likely upstanding citizens. But parents need to be aware that there’s no standard model for a sexual predator. A predator can be any of age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.,” Dordulian Law Group’s founder and president, Samuel Dordulian, says.
Here are some of the common warning signs displayed by adults that the Dordulian Law Group team has identified for parents:
- Does not respect boundaries or listen when someone tells them “no”
- Engages in touching that a child or child’s parents/guardians have indicated is unwanted
- Tries to be a child’s friend rather than filling an adult role in the child’s life
- Does not seem to have age-appropriate relationships
- Talks with children about their personal problems or relationships
- Spends time alone with children outside of their role in the child’s life or makes up excuses to be alone with the child
- Expresses unusual interest in child’s sexual development, such as commenting on sexual characteristics or sexualizing normal behaviors
- Gives a child gifts without occasion or reason
- Spends a lot of time with your child or another child you know
- Restricts a child’s access to other adults
Want to Pursue Justice for Your Child’s Sexual Abuse Claim? Contact California’s Best Attorneys
At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we take great pride in providing the utmost respect, discretion, professionalism, and dedication to each and every sexual abuse survivor and their family. We know how painstaking the process of reporting sexual abuse can be. But we’re here to listen, to believe, and to support all survivors and their families in their pursuit of justice through civil lawsuits.
Our unparalleled experience and proven results are why parents of sexual abuse victims and adult survivors who were abused as children throughout the nation consistently choose DLG to handle their claims, obtain justice, and recover maximum financial compensation.
We’ve successfully recovered more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for our clients, and we’re dedicated to working tirelessly until we secure a maximum damages award for your sexual abuse claim that equals justice under the law.
Contact us today for a free and no obligation consultation to discuss your child sexual abuse case at 818-322-4056. We accept every case on a contingency fee agreement, which means you’ll never receive a bill for any upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses. When you secure the very best legal representation available with DLG, Our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you don’t pay anything until we successfully recover maximum financial compensation for your sexual abuse claim.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you secure the justice you deserve for your child sexual abuse case.