Attorney for Victims of Bellwood-Antis Athletic Director Charles Burch

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

In 2021, former assistant wrestling coach Ryan Blazier, who coached jr. high wrestling, was convicted of sexually abusing students. The abuse occurred under the nose of athletic director Charles Burch, who knew Blazier was being investigated for sex offenses. If your child was a victim of  Blazier, we can help you get justice.

Burch is alleged to have known that  Blazier was a threat to kids yet did nothing to keep him away from students. Burch knew  Blazier was able to meet with students alone and did nothing to intervene despite the fact that there was a safety plan in place. We can help your family take Burch to civil court and sue for financial compensation. Although this does not undo all the pain inflicted on your child, it may help you attain a sense of justice and closure. Damages may be substantial. Not only can you recover damages for your economic losses, but you should also demand compensation for the immense mental and emotional toll of the abuse.

If you were a victim of the abuse at Bellwood-Antis, contact our sexual abuse attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin for a free case review by calling (814) 826-3586.

Allegations of Failing to Protect Children From Sexual Abuse Against Bellwood-Antis Athletic Director Charles Burch

In 2019, Charles Burch, the then-athletic director of Bellwood-Antis, and several others, were made aware that middle school wrestling coach Ryan  Blazier was under investigation for child sexual abuse. This clearly presented a huge problem, as  Blazier worked closely with young students and athletes. At the time, a safety plan was devised under which  Blazier was never to be alone with any children at school.

Unfortunately, Charles Burch and others working with him failed to enforce this plan, and Ryan  Blazier is known to have been alone with students on numerous occasions. Even more unfortunately, students experienced abuse. Burch had a responsibility to keep his students safe, and he failed.

When a student came to Burch with concerns about  Blazier’s behavior, Burch did not help the student. Instead, Burch intimidated the student into remaining quiet. As a result, Burch was charged with intimidating a witness. He was arraigned in January 2024 and is awaiting trial.

While Burch himself is not charged with perpetrating sexual abuse against children, he still bears much responsibility for what happened at this school. Burch knowingly allowed a predator to continue having access to young students. He put countless kids at risk, and some of them got hurt. If you or someone you know was abused, you may be able to sue for significant damages.

How We Can Help You Get Justice for Sexual Abuse Perpetrated Under the Watch of Bellwood-Antis Athletic Director Charles Burch

While Burch is currently facing criminal charges for his actions, the criminal justice system does not guarantee justice. The case against Burch might be delayed, leaving victims and families waiting and waiting for justice. The case might fall apart, and justice might never be served through a criminal proceeding. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, our sexual abuse lawyers can help you file a civil lawsuit for damages to get justice and closure.

The civil justice system is separate from criminal matters. The defendant does not even need to have committed a crime to be held civilly liable for the harm they caused. You can sue Burch for his role in the sexual abuse at Bellwood-Antis. While a liable defendant will not be sent to prison, they may be made to pay significant financial compensation to injured victims.

One major consideration you must discuss with your attorney before beginning a case is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a law that places a deadline on when potential plaintiffs may file claims against defendants.

In Pennsylvania, where the Bellwood-Antis school district is located, the statute of limitations for civil child sexual abuse claims is found under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5533(b)(2)(i). Under this law, a person who suffered sexual abuse as a minor has 37 years from their 18th birthday, or until age 55, to file a case. This might seem like a very long deadline, but it is necessary. Many victims of childhood sexual abuse do not report abuse for years, sometimes decades.

Statutes of limitations vary by state. If you live in another state or believe abuse occurred in another state, you might be subject to a different deadline. To determine your deadline, it is best to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

Since the abuse at Bellwood-Antis school is relatively recent, we have time to prepare. However, it is still wise to talk to our team as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely that evidence will disappear.

Damages Available in Your Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Bellwood-Antis and Charles Burch

In a civil case, justice is not delivered by punishing defendants. Instead, defendants may be held liable for the harm they caused and ordered to pay plaintiffs fair compensation. Most often, compensation consists of money to cover various costs and injuries experienced by the plaintiff.

A major consideration in many civil cases is economic damages, or damages based on how much money they cost the plaintiff. If your child experienced sexual abuse and needed medical treatment, you can claim the cost of medical treatment as part of your damages.

In cases of sexual abuse, economic damages might be a factor, but they are often not the main focus. Many victims find themselves suffering emotionally and psychologically more so than economically.

Non-economic damages consist of various forms of pain and suffering you endured because of the abuse. These damages are far more subjective and often unconnected to a specific sum of money. Instead, we must show a court and jury how your life was changed because of the abuse. Many abuse survivors live with deep feelings of pain, shame, and trauma. Juries often understand how serious sexual abuse is and may be willing to award substantial compensation.

Statement from Sexual Abuse Attorney Andrew Shubin

Betrayal. When Bellwood-Antis parents dropped their children off at school, they expected that the District would, as they state on their website, “empower students to attain their personal best academically, socially, physically, and emotionally.” They expected, first and foremost, that school officials would protect their children. Instead, their District gave Bellwood-Antis Middle School Wrestling Coach Ryan Blazier, a convicted dangerous pedophile, access to children, and the time and space to groom and abuse them.

On January 11, 2024, the State Attorney General’s office charged Bellwood-Antis Athletic Director Charles Burch and former Wrestling Coach Tim Andrekovich for failing to protect student wrestlers from Coach Blazier, who they knew to be under investigation for sexual misconduct with children. It was, in fact, their duty to carry out a safety plan to protect children from this dangerous predator. Instead, according to the criminal charges, Burch threatened a child who Blazier had abused to remain silent about what happened to him. The State Attorney General charged Andrekovich with endangering the welfare of children for permitting Blazier to have continued unsupervised access to students while he was under investigation for engaging In sexual misconduct.

It’s no secret that pedophiles single-mindedly seek sexual access to children; sex with children is often their life’s purpose. These predators methodically seek out children to groom, patiently and painstakingly creating attachment and trust relationships by exploiting the power bestowed upon them by the very institutions we count on to protect our children. Pedophiles are drawn to schools and coaching like a bank robber is to a bank — because “that’s where the money is.”

The difference between the stereotypical lurking creep in a van image and those actually abusing the vast majority of our children is the existence of a relationship of trust and power imbalance: a “religious leader” with a church’s imprimatur of trust; Jerry Sandusky with access to Penn State’s brand and a never-ending stream of Second Mile’s at-risk children; an improperly supervised educator and ineffective or unenforced school policies. Many in the community may seek absolution for an institution, like a school district, by arguing that the conviction of specific abusers settles the issue of culpability. Don’t be fooled by these arguments. Institutions do more than enable abuse; they cause it. Protecting our children demands more than jailing a predator or those who were close to him – it requires holding institutions and their leaders accountable for betraying and catastrophically injuring our children.

We give schools and coaches our children and trust, and they give pedophiles the ammunition essential to abuse – access and indifference. How many children could have been saved had District officials cared more about the kids than their own reputations?

Contact Our Sexual Abuse Attorneys if Your Child Was Abused by Bellwood-Antis Athletic Director Charles Burch

If you were a victim of the abuse at Bellwood-Antis, contact our sexual abuse attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin for a free case review by calling (814) 826-3586.


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