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Predatory sexual abuse of minors: “What’s…it…matter…now?”

 

The article’s lead paragraph says it all:

The recent arrests of teachers in the El Paso area accused of sex crimes against students is part of a nationwide epidemic that dwarfs the priest molestation scandal.

Now, if true, that’s a very big story. But, it seems it’s one in which the mainstream media (MSM) doesn’t appear very much interested. Instead, the MSM—including the National Catholic Reporter—has been focused like a laser whenever the story involves a priest, even if the case is decades old and a $3M settlement was reached.

Now, that’s not to dismiss any of those stories about predatory priests. What’s wrong is wrong—no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Prosecute the evildoers to the full extent of the law. It is to say that the MSM seems to be motivated by a particular agenda concerning those stories: To expose the moral failures of Catholic priests, not those of public school teachers and staff.

Terri Miller, the president of a victims advocacy group that tracks teacher-staff sexual misconduct across the nation—Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct and Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E)—is quoted in the El Paso Times as saying that since January 1, 2014, 180+ teachers in the United States have been arrested for alleged sexual misconduct. As of June 1,2014, that’s 1+ teachers-staff/day. Miller said: “We find that to be a huge problem of epidemic proportions.”

Think that number high?

A 10-year-old U.S. Department of Education study indicated that ~10% of children in U.S. public schools are victims of teacher-staff sexual misconduct sometime during their elementary and high school years. The alleged misconduct ranged from sexual comments to statutory rape. However, even though the U.S. Department of Education tracks just about everything that transpires in the nation’s public schools and will be tracking even more with the common core, the Department doesn’t track teacher-staff sexual misconduct! Furthermore, school districts are extremely reluctant to publicize problems. So, with no data available, a compliant MSM has no story. But, when it was discovered that dioceses weren’t tracking misconduct on the part of priests as well as only reluctantly publicizing any allegation, didn’t a non-compliant MSM function as the primary whistleblower?

Well, that was in 2004. To quote Hilary Clinton’s testimony before Congress about Benghazi: “What’s…it…matter…now?”

Well, 10 years later, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report examining the sexual abuse of K-12 students in the nation’s public schools. In January 2014, the GAO found that policies and methods to prevent teacher-staff misconduct vary from state to state and from school district to school district. The report noted:

The sexual abuse of students and sexual misconduct by public K-12 school personnel is a complex problem, and such behavior is particularly egregious because schools are entrusted with educating the nation’s children. There are no simple solutions to this problem and, although states and school districts are taking some positive steps, current efforts are clearly not enough.

This is now. Ever hear of that report? Did the MSM publicize its content 24/7/365?

Worse yet, the teachers and staff who are accused of misconduct typically are “placed on leave” and, then, “resign.” But that’s not all. According to Miller:

When I was in high school more than 35 years ago, there were teachers sleeping around. The creepy guys. They would be gone one day to the next. They just seemed to disappear.

But those “creepy guys” didn’t disappear. No, an accused teacher would be sent to different school or allowed to resign and move to another district. The practice was called “passing the trash.” What this practice allowed is for teachers accused of misconduct potentially to victimize multiple students before being brought to justice. Miller notes that teachers charged with sexual misconduct typically work in 3 jurisdictions before being punished. She said: “This practice of ‘passing the trash’ is truly evil. It is helping and abetting child molesters.”

Okay. But, all of that was also a very long time ago. Again, “What’s…it…matter?” Besides, victims’ advocates—including S.E.S.A.M.E’S Miller—believe “passing the trash” has decreased. No…big…problem.

Doesn’t that sound eerily similar to bishops who moved predatory priests around their dioceses and across dioceses?  Didn’t the MSM widely publicize bishops who engaged in similar, reprehensible conduct? Why weren’t public school superintendents exposed?

If Miller’s statistics concerning teacher-staff sexual misconduct in the nation’s public schools are accurate, her assessment may be correct:

The abuse that is happening in our schools is 10 times worse than the abuse that happened with clergy in five decades.

“The problem of educator abuse is far greater than clergy abuse,” Miller concluded. “The big difference is that we are not mandated to send our children to church. We are mandated to send them to school.”

Well, it may very well be accurate that teacher-staff sexual misconduct in the nation’s public schools is an “epidemic” affecting nearly ~4.5M students and “10 times worse than the abuse that happened with clergy” during the past 5 decades. But, given a generally compliant MSM, it sure would be difficult for anyone to discover.

Why? Could it that the predatory priests didn’t have  unions and a generally compliant MSM to protect them?

 

 

 

To read the Daily Mail’s recent article concerning a decades’ old sexual abuse story, click on the following link:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2646248/Catholic-diocese-claims-priest-duty-molested-boy-attempt-deflect-responsibility-sex-crimes.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

To read the El Paso Times article, click on the following link:
http://m.elpasotimes.com/elpasotimes/db_22762/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=zc481fKm&full=true#display

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

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The Motley Monk

The Motley Monk is Fr. Richard Jacobs, O.S.A., a Professor of Public Administration at Villanova University. His academic specialities include: organizational theory; leadership ethics; Catholic educational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Check out Fr. Jacobs' daily blog at http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html.

19 Comments

  1. The number of reporters and editors who have 1st and 2d degree relations employed as school teachers, administrators, or labor meatheads indubitably well exceeds the number who have clergymen that proximate to them. And, of course they’re biased toward people in salaried employments which require low-rent B.A. degrees, involve a great deal of verbilization, do not have good operational measures of competence, and do not challenge the official idea in this country. The teachers are them.

  2. The rule “testis unus, testis nullus” [one witness is no witness] makes such cases very difficult to prosecute.
    Successful prosecutions almost always rely on the Moorov doctrine, namely, that where an accused person is charged with a series of similar offences closely linked in time, character and circumstances, the evidence of one witness implicating the accused in one offence may be taken to corroborate the evidence of another witness implicating the accused in another offence, each offence being treated as if it were an element in a single course of conduct. The rule must be applied with caution and where there are only two similar offences, even more caution must be exercised in applying the rule. The downside is that, if the jury do not accept one of two complainers as credible and reliable, they must find both charges (or sets of charges) not proven.
    Even in a country like Scotland, where the Crown Office acts as a central clearing house for prosecutions, many offenders, I am sure, slip through the net; where the accused can easily move from one jurisdiction to another, successful prosecutions must be all but impossible. On a lighter note, I recall one report of a case of theft that bore the unfortunate headnote, “Possession in Scotland evidence of theft in England.”

  3. “The rule ‘testis unus, testis nullus’ [one witness is no witness] makes such cases very difficult to prosecute.” Not on this side of the pond if it’s a Catolic priest . . .

    But, I’m shocked and bewildered. Not b/c some teachers are beneath evil. I’m dismayed/shocked that this news made the news: it does not support the vile narrative as do their innumerable attacks (distortions, exaggerations, fabrications, omissions, ad infinitum repetitions) on Holy Mother Church support their sordid agenda.

    FYI: For some, unimaginable reason last night FOXNY aired the arrest of a female NYC high school gym teacher for “raping” two young men.

  4. It is very simple. The public schools are considered progressive, enlightened institutions, while the Church is considered a regressive, backwards institution. Any club to beat the Church will do, but don’t expect it to be wielded against those who are on “the right side of history.”

  5. There is no statute of limitations for clerical abuse. In New York State the statute of limitations is 90 days. The child, the minor child has not figured out what has happened to him in 90 days. Our Father who art in heaven, deliver us from evil.

  6. Mary de Voe

    There should be no statute of limitations for any crime.

    The old maxim was “nullum tempus occurit regi” [Time does not run against the king (or his Advocate)]

    In 2000, Marie Docherty (Sister Alphonso) was convicted of four charges of cruel and unnatural treatment towards children at Nazareth House homes in Aberdeen and Lasswade, Midlothian between 1965 and 1980. Three further charges were found not proven.

    Of course, subsequent civil claims were very properly dismissed, on the grounds of mora, taciturnity and acquiescence. Individuals can waive their rights; the public cannot.

    Of course, once arrested or charged, strict time-limits should apply, but that is a very different matter.

  7. Michael Paterson-Seymour: “There should be no statute of limitations for any crime.”
    .
    I wholeheartedly agree.The victim is the victim for all time.

  8. Worse yet, the teachers and staff who are accused of misconduct typically are “placed on leave” and, then, “resign.”

    Part of why we’re planning to home school is a case where the criminal was placed on leave, found guilty, served his time, and only resigned when parents surrounded the school for three days straight and he couldn’t return to work.
    ****************
    There should be no statute of limitations for any crime.

    I can’t agree. After a point, there is no reasonable way to prove anything; if I was accused of not paying a mail box rental bill from my first command over a decade ago, all they would have to do is destroy the paper for it ending. I don’t have my copy anymore! And no, it’s not reasonable to expect people to keep every account closure paper they have ever had in their entire adult life, at the price of being found guilty of not paying bills.
    And that’s just a simply proven crime of theft-by-not-paying; things like stealing a dune buggy that you bought 30 years ago, for cash? Or assault with four witnesses of your own, for an event a decade back– there’s no way to defend against that, and people are not that perfect, even ignoring the possibility of deliberate lying.

  9. Mary-
    A lack of one gives aid and comfort to the enemy; it enables people to lie and gain by it, and removing the ability to defend from the innocent.

  10. Foxfier

    The difficulties over loss of evidence is far more likely to affect the prosecution. It is for them, after all, to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt and on corroborated evidence.

    To take your examples

    1) The rental – Non-payment cannot amount to theft.
    2) The buggy – Possession of recently stolen goods only requires an explanation from the accused, if there are other criminating circumstances. If an explanation is offered, it is not for the accused to prove it is true, but for the Crown to prove it is false.
    3) The assault – There would have to be independent evidence implicating the accused and the jury would have to be satisfied both witnesses were both credible and reliable. Of the 27 charges Sr Alphonso faced, she was convicted of only four.

    “it enables people to lie and gain by it”
    No, it does not. Any civil claim for damages would be barred by mora and taciturnity. It is only the public prosecutor who is not barred.

  11. The difficulties over loss of evidence is far more likely to affect the prosecution. It is for them, after all, to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt and on corroborated evidence.

    That’s the theory.
    In practice, they offer their evidence and in the case of rape the accusation itself is rather large evidence– example, various “30 years ago I was molested by a dead priest” cases.
    Rape itself is incredibly short-lived if you are going to get actual evidence of a crime. Murder, you’ve got a corpse, but this….
    ****
    1) The rental – Non-payment cannot amount to theft.
    That would be such a comfort when I was hit with a bill for thousands of dollars that I have no way to defend against– it’s morally theft, but is a different legal classification.
    2) it was specifically not recent.
    3) Like witnesses. Not hard to get a photograph with a bruise that is inside of four years of the claimed assault, or that looks like it.
    ***
    Yes, a lack of statue of limitations does allow people to lie and profit. There’s a reason they aren’t universal, but just like someone being legally declared dead– otherwise the innocent will be looking over their shoulders in case someone wants to harm them.
    There’s a reason that most statue of limitations that I’ve looked at have carve-outs for new evidence, being prevented from reporting, investigations being dropped, etc.

  12. Things I’ve seen first hand:
    a car that was totaled and sold to a junk lot is “found abandoned” and a bill sent to the person who sold it over five years ago– even though they’d properly filed the paperwork that it had been sold. Luckily, they kept the paper, even though it had been longer than you’re supposed to.
    A ticket is sent to a business on the far side of the state that a car they have for parts was going over 30 above the speed limit; the only reason they didn’t pay that is one of the owners as a rich lawyer for a son.
    A military member canceled his internet subscription and deployed. Three months later the company says he signed up for a phone connection– at which point he was in the middle of the Indian Ocean. They did not send a bill until after automatic forwarding expired. Several years later, he gets handed a bill; obviously, even if he had the paper about closing his internet account, he has no proof he closed the phone account because he never had a phone with them. “I was in the middle of the ocean” is not sufficient, and he can’t fly to the state to be in court.
    ***
    Extrapolate that on outwards, since all three were most likely chosen because they were expected to be a high reward for low risk of fight.

  13. Michael, police departments and prosecutor’s offices need to husband their time; Cold Case units need to be reviewing unsolved homicides, of which there are plenty in a city of ordinary size. That aside, there actually are a selection of crimes and a selection of cases where the accused is expected to demonstrate his innocence.

    Here was a nice one here, where the prosecutor got a conviction on dodgy eyewitness testimony and an argument that there was a slim possibility that the accused could have flown between Orlando and New York and back to commit the crime:

    http://www.propublica.org/article/for-a-respected-prosecutor-an-unpardonable-failure?utm_campaign=sprout&utm_content=1401902912&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_term=with-image

    This unfortunate husband (provably at a motel in southwest Virginia at the time his wife was murdered in Raleigh, NC) has another shot due to procedural errors:

    http://www.wral.com/nc-appeals-court-orders-new-murder-trial-for-jason-young/13528780/

    Then there was the 2d grade teacher in my home town facing charges of molestation – lodged seven years after the fact. How is he supposed to defend himself against such a charge? Read the comment boxes under stories of that character. There are lots of people who would vote to convict the proverbial ham sandwich if a prosecutor said the sandwich fondled a schoolgirl.

  14. MPS references “mora and taciturnity.”
    .
    How does this differ from the equitable defense of laches?

  15. Slainté asks how “mora and taciturnity” differs from the equitable defence of laches.

    I dare say it is the Civilian equivalent. Like homologation and rei interventus, It is a form of personal bar (what Common Lawyers call estoppels)

    Mora or delay, however, can create liability. If I borrow a horse, I am normally only liable for culpa, but, if I am in mora, by failing to return it on time, I am liable at all hazards, even if t drops dead of an aneurism – a harsh rule, showing the Roman preference for simplicity and certainty.

    Foxfier wrote

    “That would be such a comfort when I was hit with a bill for thousands of dollars” In other words, a civil claim; no one is suggesting a civil claim should not prescribe.

    “it was specifically not recent” Precisely and so no explanation is required of the accused. To secure a conviction, the prosecutor would have to produce witnesses to the taking by the accused. (Even CCTV evidence is only one source and the law of corroboration requires two independent sources. That is why one cannot convict on fingerprint evidence alone in Scotland – although one can in England, where corroboration is not required)

    “Not hard to get a photograph with a bruise” A bruise on the complainer corroborates her testimony that she was hit. What is required is corroborated evidence implicating the accused. His grazed knuckles, of course, would be such evidence, or her blood on his clothing.

    “Rape itself is incredibly short-lived if you are going to get actual evidence of a crime” Which is why 80% of panels are acquitted. However, some 10-year old cases have been successfully prosecuted, using DNA evidence collected at the time (together with other evidence, of course)

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