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Abuse Guardians
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Miami, FL – A woman’s disclosure during therapy that her former social studies teacher groomed and sexually abused her when she was a high school student has led to the arrest of Michael A. Tamayo. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children alerted the Miami Police Department on April 21, 2024, after the victim, who was 15 to 16 years old at the time, revealed the abuse.

Charter Teacher’s Inappropriate Conduct Escalated During School Trip

According to Detective Frances Flores’s statement, the former student reported that Tamayo, who taught at Mater Academy East Charter School in Miami’s Little Havana from 2012 to 2017, began touching her inappropriately during a school trip to Italy. The inappropriate behavior continued after they returned to Miami.

Manipulation and Grooming Tactics Alleged By Former Charter Student

The victim claimed that Tamayo initially befriended her at school before sending her text messages and manipulating her with stories about suicidal thoughts, alcoholism, and drinking and driving. These tactics allegedly paved the way for the subsequent abuse.

Teacher’s Checkered Past and Previous Allegations of Child Sex Abuse

Tamayo, who faces charges approximately 14 years after leaving the charter school, has a checkered past. According to Flores, he had already been accused of child sex abuse in Miami previously. Additionally, in 2017, the Florida Department of Education reprimanded Tamayo and placed him on a two-year probation following a DUI crash involving a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in 2016.

Former Teacher’s Arrest and Court Proceedings Following Sexual Abuse Charges

Tamayo was arrested on May 23 in Virginia and extradited to Miami-Dade County. During his first court appearance on Friday, the prosecution requested pre-trial detention, which was granted by Judge Mindy Glazer. Tamayo is currently being held without bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

He faces charges of sexual battery by a person in a position of custodial authority, lewd or lascivious molestation against a minor between the ages of 12 and 16, and attempted sexual battery by a person in custodial authority. His arraignment hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 24, at 9:30 a.m., with Judge Laura Cruz presiding over the felony case.

Holding Schools Accountable in Teacher Sexual Abuse Cases

When allegations of sexual abuse by a teacher surface, the legal implications extend beyond just the perpetrator. Schools and educational institutions can potentially face liability for negligence that allowed such abuse to occur. To explore this angle, we sat down with Michael Haggard, an experienced Florida attorney specializing in school sex abuse cases. Haggard offered his professional perspective on the legal rights available to victims and their families, as well as strategies for holding negligent schools and organizations accountable through the civil justice system.

Laurence Banville, Esq.: In a case like this involving alleged sexual abuse by a teacher at a charter school, what legal options do victims have?

Michael Haggard, Esq.: Victims of sexual abuse by a teacher can pursue civil lawsuits against the perpetrator and potentially the school or charter organization if negligence is proven. This allows them to seek compensation for damages like pain and suffering, counseling costs, and more.

Banville: What constitutes negligence on the part of the school or charter organization?

Haggard: Negligence can include failure to properly vet and background check employees, ignoring warning signs or past allegations, lack of training and policies to prevent abuse, or failure to report suspected abuse promptly.

Banville: How can victims and their families hold these negligent parties accountable?

Haggard: By filing a civil lawsuit, victims can not only seek justice and compensation but also bring to light any negligent actions or inactions that allowed the abuse to occur. This public accountability can drive policy changes to protect students better.

Banville: What would you advise victims and families considering legal action?

Haggard: Consult an experienced attorney who specializes in school sex abuse cases. They can investigate, build a strong case, and fight for maximum compensation while holding all responsible parties accountable through the civil justice system.

Seek Justice and Compensation for Sexual Abuse: Free Consultations Available

Victims of sexual abuse by teachers and school staff should know that they have legal rights and options for seeking justice and compensation. If you or a loved one has experienced such trauma, do not hesitate to explore your options. Our team of experienced attorneys offers free, confidential consultations to discuss your case and determine the best path forward. Together, we can hold abusers and negligent institutions accountable while securing the support and resources you deserve on your journey to healing.


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