Last month, a 5th grade teacher in the Bronx, NY pled guilty to raping a 10 year old student. At sentencing, the teacher is expected to be sentenced to 14 years in prison, and he will have to surrender his teaching license and register as a sex offender. According to the Bronx County court dockets, the incident occurred last summer (June 2013), and the teacher was arrested a few days later. Sentencing is scheduled for next week, July 7, 2014.
According to multiple online news reports, the teacher had been grooming the girl for months, contacting her via email and buying her gifts. The rape occurred after the teacher forged an official school letter indicating the girl had won an academic award. The teacher then raped the girl in his truck, and later apologized for being “too rough” in an email to the girl. Source: www.nydailynews.com, Bronx teacher pleads guilty to raping 10-year old student
Allegations the School’s Principal Received Prior Reports of Sexual Misconduct
There is evidence that the school principal received reports that this particular teacher had engaged in sexual misconduct prior to the June 2013 rape. According to an October 23, 2013 press release from the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District, the principal received two separate reports about this teacher’s misconduct. Specifically, one student reported having seen the teacher kissing the victim-student in an empty classroom. Another student reported seeing the teacher and the student exchanging notes during class. The principal failed to take any action.
The question here is whether the rape would have occurred if the principal had taken appropriate action. The answer is probably not. School sex abuse is a serious problem, one that can only be remedied by a school’s appropriate, timely response to all reports of sexual contact and misconduct. Teachers, coaches and other school employees who would engage in such behavior are often emboldened by the silence of others around them, namely other school employees.
Basically, sexual predators escalate sexual conduct when others around them, those with the power to stop the abuse, do nothing. In this recent case, it looks as though that’s exactly what happened here. Kissing a student in an elementary school classroom is bold behavior, and had it been taken seriously, the June 2013 rape probably would not have occurred. In other words, the teacher would have faced an internal investigation AND probably a criminal one, for kissing the student. That, alone, would have prevented him from later raping the girl because he would have been forced to cease all contact with her.
Why Schools Get it Wrong When it Comes to Reports of an Employee’s Sexual Misconduct
Reports of a school employee’s sexual misconduct against a student are often mishandled, intentionally and negligently. School administrators often make the mistake of succumbing to fear of an investigation and therefore intentionally do nothing about reports of sexual misconduct. In addition, administrators are often poorly trained and ill equipped to handle such reports. Put simply, they don’t know what to do with reports of misconduct, and therefore negligently fail to do anything about the reports.
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Laffey Bucci & Kent New York Office
The sexual abuse victims’ lawyers at Laffey Bucci & Kent represent victims of school sex abuse in civil cases against the abusers and others who negligently or intentionally failed to stop the abuse.
We have offices in PA, NJ, and NY. Our NY office is located at 225 Broadway, Suite 625. Please call our office for a free case review. Firm founder, Brian Kent, is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who now represents victims in civil courts. Click To Call
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