"We speak out for accountability when injustice occurs... "

© All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Teacher cleared of sex assault reveals his nightmare

By Katie Silver

A PE teacher falsely accused of molesting a 12-year-old schoolgirl has spoken of his pain at telling his children he was going to be arrested. Sean Lanigan was pulled out of a class in Fairfax, Virginia, and told he was going to be arrested for allegedly carrying out the offenses. 

In reality his 'crimes' had been invented and the schoolgirl bore a grudge against him.

Despite being cleared of all the offenses, the teacher’s $125,000 legal fees still haven’t been repaid by the state and he is struggling to get his life back. The young girl claimed that the teacher had taken him into the gym and said he was going to ‘treat her like a Queen’ and briefly groped her. 

The married father-of-three, aged 43 when the allegations were made in January 2010, could have faced 40 years in jail if found guilty. He had told his ‘victim’ off for being abusive on the school bus and the girl apparently told her friends: ‘Mr Lanigan’s a jerk. I’m going to make him pay.’ 

He was held in Fairfax County Adult Detention Center for four nights after being accused of carrying out the offense.
Arrested: the popular PE teacher was charged with abduction and aggravated sexual battery
Arrested: the popular PE teacher was charged with abduction and aggravated sexual battery 
The father, who taught at Centre Ridge Elementary School, said he will never forget the horror of having to tell his children that he was about to be arrested by police.
He told the Washington Post: ‘We try to teach them (the children) to do the right thing and I had to tell them that Daddy was going to jail and my name was going to be on the news. It was heartbreaking. 

‘It’s very difficult to explain to a seven-year-old, 10-year-old, 13-year-old, what I was accused of - why the girl lied and why I had to go to jail,’  he told the newspaper.
Now, Mr Lanigan’s reputation and career are in tatters. 

He still doesn’t have a job; his wife has had to quit hers as the family keeps being moved around and the Fairfax School District are refusing to pay his $125,000 in legal fees. 

‘The school life, my family life has been in disarray and still is,’ he said, adding that they are ‘coping day by day.’ 

He said it was dreadful to spend time in a jail accused of a crime he did not commit.
‘It was scary, I was just wide-eyed. I’m an accused child molester. I’m thinking, “How am I going to last in here?” 

His nightmare began last January when he was taken out of his class at Center Ridge Elementary School by two police officers were waiting to interrogate him. After 25 minutes of small talk Detective Nicole Christian, the lead detective in the case said: ‘You really have no idea why you’re here, do you?.'...

View the Today Show Interview of Sean Lanigan:

Prison Watch of Idaho Encourages and Welcomes Comments:


  1. This man need victims compensation money. What happened to him was a criminal act and he should be able to apply. Oh i forgot only a victims witness coordinator or a prosecutor can only apply, on the victims behalf ! Any one see a problem with this?

  2. I'm going to sound trite and people are sick of hearing it but it needs to be said over and over and over until it sinks in.....OUR RIGHTS AS IDAHO CITIZENS AND U.S. CITIZEN ARE SLOWLY BEING TAKEN AWAY.

    My question is, why aren't more people upset about it? I think it's because they think that something like a false allegation of sex abuse can't or won't happen to them.

    Well people think again. Do you have a son that dates girls? Are you ever around angry children? do you have a troubled child? Do you know or do you work around troubled children? do you ever think that you may be embroiled in a nasty divorce? If any of these circumstances fit you you are a prime candidate for a false allegation of sexual abuse. And if and when you are accused your rights are nil. NO rights at all. You are guilty until PROVEN innocent. You are arrested and thrown into jail before an investigation is even made. The police "loose" evidence, the prosecutors are not above lying to get a conviction and the judges will refuse to let you present a proper case. You are HAD, you have no rights and no one will care because you, your son, your wife or your daughter has been accused of a sex crime.

    Your life is ruined before they even pronounce you guilty. And if they DO pronounce you guilty you are doubly screwed because in Idaho they won't ever let you go. The Supreme Court won't even read your case or consider your evidence because a jury found you guilty. They think, "who are we to overturn a conviction?" The prosecutor will fight tooth and nail to assure that you NEVER get out of prison and will even lie to keep you there because that's what prosecutors do and it is a notch in their belts.

    The parole board will deny you over and over because you won't admit to doing something you didn't do.

    In other words you'd better never get married, never date, never have children, never make anyone mad.... get my point.

    Idaho's legal system is unconscionably medieval. They are hell bent on imprisoning as many citizens as they can. It's a money maker for them and most people who are imprisoned, whether innocent or not, will never see the light of day again again.

    Think I'm wrong....do the research.

  3. Idaho prosecutors do have a problem. My son was accused of molesting his x girlfriends girls when he broke up with her because she was pushing marriage. The accusation came, he called a lawyer, was told pretty much an accusation is a guilty charge! OMG we put out 10k for attorneys. The police department contacted my son asked if he would come in to talk to them. He gave them his lawyers name. Didn't hear another word about it for over a year. Then it raised it's ugly head again. from what we figured out, the girlfriend had been telling all her friends and family my son had done this. So when nothing happened they started to ask why. Well not wanted to look like the liar she was, she started pressuring the prosecutors office. Saying she would go to the media if they didn't do something. They said they had no evidence, after all she didn't take her girls to the hospital or child cares which are the first steps. So after a year she took them to see someone, this mind you is after a year of her being able to coach these little minds. Really what 3 yr. old would testify and use the word testicles? Anyway they still had nothing to go on, but with her threats to the elected prosecutor, he felt he had to do something. My son voluntarily spent the money to have a lie detector test, Psychoanalyst test. When these came back with flying colors and the counselors having sent in good reports, that still didn't end the issue. He went through court had to listen to the girlfriend get up there and cry to the judge and how life will never be the same, Having friends look at him differently, and now living with the effects of the stress it caused him. 3 years after the accusation, they got their money out of him and still are. He was put on 2 year probation, and ordered to take any classes the probation office seen fit. He was not given a sexual crime, but boy did it come close. They settled on endangering a child, Just so the girlfriend would go away. So why does he have to take classes and spend $50.00 a month to probation? Oh yea it's a money game.
    So when they have to charge you with something just because they had to satisfy a so called victim. I understand how there are innocent people locked up for years and years out of their lives.
    It's not their son, brother, uncle, so why would they care?