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Is it legal for a minor to be interviewed and recorded by a private investigator without a parent present or parental consent?

Portland, OR |
Filed under: Juvenile law

Our local School District is investigating an athletic coach and my 16yr old was asked to help in the investigation. When she was interviewed we were told that I could not be in the room with her and after the interview I found out her statements were recorded without my consent.

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

I am not licensed in Oregon so my comments will be general in nature. In addition to being an attorney, I am also a licensed private investigator. I am not sure what your concerns are. From what you have described, your child is not the target of the investigation. The coach is the target and so if he or she is charged criminally, he or she could not assert that your child's rights were violated. Understand? Even if your child's rights were violated, it would not generally help the coach. If your child is later charged with a crime based on that interview, hire an attorney for help.

That being said, it appears from what you said that you were aware of the investigation and allowed your child to be interviewed and did not object. While Oregon may or may not have laws regarding the recording of a minor in that situation, I do not know, but as someone who has written a book about child abuse, if the coach was involved in any type of child abuse (sexual or otherwise) as a parent, I would be more concerned about helping convict him or her than protecting him or her. I hope you do the right thing. Good luck!

The comments listed here do not create an attorney-client relationship. The comments are for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice. This attorney is only licensed in Michigan and does not give legal advice in any other state. All comments are to be considered conversational information and you should not rely on these comments as legal advice or in place of retaining an attorney of our own. The comments here are based solely on what you have provided and therefore are general in nature and with more specific facts or details a different answer or outcome could result. The legal system is not a perfect science and this attorney does not guarantee any outcome.

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Asker

Posted

We did want to do the right thing and that is why we agreed to allow her to be interviewed, even though we were not allowed in the room. And there is no concern about our daughter being charged with a crime. Our only concern is wheather or not our daughters civil rights were violated in the School Districts attempt to protect their coach and themselfs from suit. Thank you for taking the time to answer.

Edward Jacob Sternisha

Edward Jacob Sternisha

Posted

You are most welcome. First, thank you for clearing that up for me. I hope that the school is less concerned about lawsuits and more concerned about the safety of the children. In otherwords, I hope they learned from Penn State. Based on what you have told me, I do not see any civil rights violations for your daughter if she was merely interviewed as a witness. In the future, should she be interviewed as a suspect (even if she is not guilty), as a minor, remind her to not speak without her parents or attorney present. As for the school, if there is any criminal activity suspected, and I say only suspected, the police should be involved. If they are not, you may want to inform them. All too often (again as evidenced by Penn State) the school or other entity thinks that they need more evidence before getting the police involved. That is a backward way of thinking. It is their obligation to inform the police and let the police do the investigating - not the other way around. Ending child abuse is a topic I am very passionate about. If you are interested, my book "Pot Pie Ashtrays: Breaking The Cycle Of Child Abuse" is available in printed and e-book versions and I do not earn any money from it. All of my author proceeds are dedicated to programs working to fight child abuse. You can find a link to it at my author website www.edwardsternisha.com. The story involved is true and is not easy to read but I think all parents and young adults should read it. Anyway, I hope my comments have helped a little. This would be an excellent time to have "good touch - bad touch" talks with your kids - even if you already have (you'll see why in my book). I pray for the continued safety of your family and hope the school does the right thing. Good Luck!

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