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Four questions about pedophilia Ten years ago, I was a mandated reporter, teaching in a small private school. Working with another teacher, I collected stories from 12 students who were abused, and reported them. The students involved in the worst cases refused to speak publicly, or even to file reports. Even without those cases, the police report included nine complaints from five students. The accused teacher pled guilty to one count of second degree assault (not a sex offense), and was sentenced to 18 months suspended, sex offender counseling, sex offender registry, three years probation. He violated probation, pled guilty to that, and got seven months incarceration. Although the District Court required that he register as a sex offender, Circuit Court set aside that part of the sentence. In 2013, the convicted offender announced on Facebook that he was going back into education. I pursued him, located him, and located the school which had hired him. He is no longer teaching there. But while I was pursuing him, I encountered obstacles that I do not understand. Perhaps you can explain, or at least point me toward articles that explain the competing interests and the way they are balanced. 1. Because I helped to collect the testimony that led to the original charges, trial, and conviction, I am aware of unreported stories of abuse that are considerably worse than the reported stories. I understand and respect the decisions made by those students, and their parents. I am still in contact with the families of the students who chose not to testify, and I am aware of the suffering they still endure. I will protect their names. Nonetheless, when I have explained what happened ten years ago, and why this teacher should not return to a school, I explain the charges and conviction and penalties – and add that I was the reporter, and I am convinced that there were incidents that occurred that were worse than the record reflects. Is there any reason why I should not add such a statement? 2. When I was searching for the school where the offender was teaching, I asked the administration of the school where he and I taught a decade ago for help. The school declined. The executive administrator said that the alleged incidents a decade ago are not their responsibility; the administration changed six years ago, and they do not have records of events under the old administration. Does the school have any obligation to maintain any records about pedophilia charges and convictions a decade ago? 3. The school where the offender was hired this year said little. The principal told me: (1)the man did work there, but (2) he is no longer there, and (3) he is not permitted on the property. The attorney for the school was annoyed that the principal told me even that much. I understand that they cannot violate a teacher’s confidential records. But if he was hired, he must have lied. Are his lies confidential? I understand further that the school did not want any adverse publicity (especially since the school has the unfortunate name “XXXXX”). I understand further that they (probably) made an error hiring the man, an error that exposed them to lawsuits, and that silence might be a necessary protection, even though they found and rectified the problem. But their silence makes it easier for the pedophile to try again elsewhere. Can you explain their silence? Is their silence a prudent legal strategy? (“Nope, yup” is a reasonable answer to that pair of vague questions, but maybe …) 4. More generally, can you indicate where I might look for information about building walls of protection against pedophilia? That is, I understand the legal penalties for pedophilia; criminal law is the key protective barrier. But it would seem to me that schools can build a different set of protections, overlapping with the legal barriers but not identical (e.g., maintaining records, but also maintaining data about interested parties). Churches can build barriers, overlapping but not identical (e.g., building or encouraging groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, but for sex offenders). Neighborhoods can build barriers (with great advantages and great pitfalls). Somebody somewhere has thought and written about protective barriers against pedophilia besides the criminal code. Who, and where? (Again, “Good luck” might be an appropriate answer from a legal advisor.) Thanks. XXXXXXX
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