April 30, 2015
James Larkin, the 64-year old former middle school principal of Tampa Day School, pled gulty today to two charges of felony sexual battery of a minor. He was sentenced to ten years in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration. James Larkin is a long-time educator in Tampa, having worked as Prinicpal in Tampa Day School and Headmaster at St. John’s Greek Orthodox School for a combined thirty five years. Both of the boys Larkin molested were former students at schools where he worked.
Farmer Jaffe Weissing attorney Adam Horowitz represents the child victim who was molested in Spring 2014. In that incident, Larkin molested a eighth-grade student he knew from Tampa Day School. In that case, the boy’s mother was out of town for the weekend. Larkin and his wife watched the victim and his sister. Larkin came into the boy’s room at night, laid down next to him and put his hands down the boy’s pants and fondled the boy’s genitals. Larkin admitted his actions were "inappropriate" in a phone call between the student and principal that was recorded by the sheriff’s office.
Following his arrest, Larkin was fired in April 2014 from Tampa Day School, where he had served for five years. Before serving as principal at Tampa Day School, Larkin resigned suddenly as headmaster at St. John Greek Orthodox School where he worked for over 30 years. According to its website, Tampa Day School is a "specialized school for students in grades K-8 with mild to moderate learning disabilities, dyslexia, anxiety, and ADHD." Larkin founded and led a "dad’s club" at Tampa Day School to develop social bonds between fathers and their sons enrolled in the school. Larkin was also involved in the Boy Scouts and numerous youth groups during his time as an educator.
Larkin befriended the 2014 victim and his mother over a period of months after the victim’s father passed away. Over time, Larkin became a surrogate dad for the child and routinely took the victim to "Dad Club" meetings and other recreational activities. The other incident of abuse was perpetrated on a ten-year old boy who attended St. John Greek Orthodox School in 1980. On that occasion, he was also babysitting on of his students at his own apartment. A third victim from the 1970’s was also identified, but his claim was beyond the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution.
According to the victim’s attorney Adam Horowitz, "Schools should be a place where parents can trust that their children will be cared for and protected from harm. Unfortunately, far too many sexual predators infiltrate the schools because of the opportunity to be alone with minors in a position of supervision. This is particularly tragic when it occurs at a school which treats special needs children. Reporting child sex abuse is never easy. But to report the abuse at such a young age when it was committed by an authority figure, such as a principal, requires extraordinary courage. By doing so, however, this child can now begin making the transition from vicitm to survivor. We commend this brave young boy for coming forward and reporting these events."
It is often said that child sexual abuse is a crime of power and control. This case illustrates that concept, as it involves two of the most commonly-seen facts present in many child sexual abuse cases — (1) an adult in a position of authority who gains the family’s trust through his status and role in the community; and (2) a vulnerable child (who in this case was attending a school for children with disabilities and had no father figure in his life). Thanks to the brave victim who came forward, Larkin can be brought to justice. Our sympathies go out to the alleged victim in this case and anyone else who might have been subjected to abuse where James Larkin worked as principal. or headmaster It is our hope that they seek the help they need to begin the healing process.
Our attorneys have extensive experience handling abuse cases in both private and public schools. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse while attending a school, contact our law firm at 1-855-700-PATH or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] Our law office handles sexual abuse cases in schools nationwide.