For one thing, you can't be put on the list just for being *reported*. You have to be *convicted* of something. So, no, the parents can't just report their kid's dates and, boom, they are on the list. First, it has to be against the law... in many states, there has to not only be a minor but also there has to be a larger age difference than 2 years. Then, the DA has to decide to prosecute. Then, they have to win the case and then the judge has to agree that this is proper punishment.
I used hunt pedophiles and they were always telling people that they were put on the list for bogus reasons but they were also always lying. (Their favorite story is that they were put on for taking a leak in public. Um, they were flashing kids. Not peeing in a bush.) Plus, I know plenty of pedophiles who didn't end up on the list even though they did things that were illegal. They had good lawyers and got out of it with just probation or community service and no registration.
I do think that a number of gays have been put on this list in anti-gay states for doing things that shouldn't even be illegal, but I don't agree that it's easy to get on these lists in general especially for straight men.
Every time you say something stupid on the internet, Tim Berners-Lee punches a kitten.
And the incident was very telling about what people think is good and right in the teaching profession when in reality it is what is all wrong. This young man was 26 years old. He was a model teacher that had all the admiration of the parents and principal. He attended every game, every fundraiser, every play, every music performance--if there was an event at school he was there. He avoided the teacher table at lunch to eat with the kids and the teacher's lounge at all other times (lest he corrupt his love of the students with terrible complaining old veteran teachers). He came to work sick and exhausted. He was devoted to the school and his students twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Everyone in charge and all the parents thought he was fabulous and the school needed more teachers like him. Heck...if he hadn't cracked and did what he did, some network might have made a movie about his devoted teacher life because society eats this sort of thing up.
What was he missing in the four years that he was everyone's model of a devoted and dedicated teacher? Normal adult social and family connections. And without that, and together with a problematic background, he violated the boundaries--in part because everyone was telling him it was so wonderful to not set any in the first place.
The other problem in all of this is that even though he should rightly never teach anywhere again, when his time on the list is up (it was to be ten years), he can probably acquire a teaching license or coach athletics in another state. Because there is not a national database to let states know when someone has lost a teaching license in another state. And that was the judge's justification for putting him on the list. Instead of using the sex offender registry for that purpose (because everyone seems to assume that anyone on that list has raped a preschooler), there needs to be a national database to keep suspended teachers in one state from being licensed in another.
I would add this, as well, at the same school three years later, a female teacher asked some female students to join her for private dinners and "dates" and made some undefined "advances" on them. The parents who reported it didn't even think of calling law enforcement, and the teacher was allowed to finish the school year and the school didn't even seek action on her teaching certificate. Same crime. Totally different response. Double standards much????
(And that is among the reasons that I left that school).
Is it common for 25-year-olds to be in high school? Unless this was a random girl he barely even knew, he must have known the girl's grade and figured out she was underage I find it hard to believe he didn't even think of the possibility the girl might be quite young if this is high school.
Honestly, I find it hard to garner any sympathy for the guy. High school teachers trying to take advantage of students is just
She was also not his student. He taught 6th and 7th graders in a different building and the girl was a tenth grader who he had never had in his classroom. (Yes, that doesn't excuse anything, but it is, nevertheless, a fact.).
He took responsibility for it. He pled no contest and the DA made a deal that would have been a less severe punishment (shorter time on the infamous list, very structured probation and court supervised therapy). And the week of the sentencing, the pretty blond teacher in Florida got a really minimal punishment for a much more serious crime. The judge got pissed and gave this young man a severe punishment for a less serious crime and told the press that the case in Florida was the reason why.
My initial intent was not to discuss this case anyway. But, believe me, someday, someone you know well--that you work with or mentored (both the case for me in this situation--which happened five years ago) or are related to or are friends with or the child of your friend--will make a very big mistake. And you'll find out that it is hard to see that person as a black and white statistic or a cut and dried throw the book at him/her court case. Because it hurts. And you won't have such a knee jerk reaction to just curse the person to hell and back.
As for the topic of the registry--I know parents of young children who get on the web and look at the sex offender registry in order to know who to be terrified of in their neighborhood. This former teacher is an example of someone who is absolutely no danger to their preschoolers, nor are young men accused of statutory rape of their slightly younger girlfriends that have sometimes been placed on those registries (an example another poster brought up). But the people looking at those lists assume that everyone on them is a dangerous pedophile predator. That is not actually true. The lists need to, at the very least, indicate in some way what the person was actually convicted of. "Minor" can mean "16 year old ex-girlfriend" or it can mean "4 year old child in the neighborhood" and that is certainly two different things. "Sexual contact" can mean molesting a four year old or it can mean placing hands on a 14 year old's shoulders while everyone is fully clothed--again two entirely different things. When a parent sees a neighbor's name and address on that list, it would be better for all involved if the difference was clear.
Our staff had an outside counselor come to walk us through our feelings who told us just what I said above. These cases are black and white and "that damn guy can burn in hell forever" until everyone involved ( the victim, her parents (one was a former employee of the school), the perpetrator) are people you know and care about. Then it is a whole different thing. Then you have feelings of compassion for everyone involved that are hard to sort out. And our society is so appalled by any crime that involves sexuality and minors that we are willing to make these kinds of incidents the whole definition of who people are. It's not so easy to define a person as merely a victim or merely a perpetrator when you know him/her. (And I know the victim as well--in fact, my sis-in-law is her godmother).
And I never said he didn't commit a crime. The fact that he was convicted of "sexual contact" with a minor and some parent of an eight year old who lives down the street from him now saw his name and address on a registry saying so and told his kid to run past that door or whatever, when he didn't actually make that contact seems a bit extreme. He touched her shoulders. Her interpretation was that he was attempting to kiss her. The school administration, police and court agreed with that interpretation because he had sent her a text saying they should date. That is all that happened and the guy gets to be lumped in on a list with people who molested toddlers with nothing to delineate a difference.
(And, once again, it should not have happened and he should have been punished and he should never be a coach or in a classroom again---but none of that makes the sex offender list as clear as it should be because whne looking at that list in most states, it is not clear what people's actual offenses were--which was my original point before you all decided to burn me at the stake for having a tiny bit of compassion for someone I worked with very closely for a semester when he did part of his student teaching in my classroom).
Speaking of which... PDilemma defending a teacher who hit on a young girl more than once because he didn't "do anything" makes me ill. It's precisely what's wrong with society IMO and why so many of these crimes go unreported and are lightly prosecuted. That teacher knew what he was doing. He was using his position of authority to get sexual power over a minor and therefore, by definition he was not a wonderful teacher and, just because he didn't rape the girl or even grope her, that doesn't mean he "didn't do anything."
Every time you say something stupid on the internet, Tim Berners-Lee punches a kitten.
I was an 11th grader when a teacher developed a crush on me, and let me tell you that this was no fun at all (although in PDilemma's definition "nothing happened", thank god).
I wish I had the guts to press charges (this was in a different country, but still).
PDilemma, what do you think would have been appropriate punishment for him?
It makes me ill that people go online to trap these people for some television show. I completely understand WHY they do it but two wrongs do not make a right, IMO.
"Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher
What did he deserve? This (the terms of his plea originally):
1. To never be allowed to set foot in the school or at a school event again.
2. To lose his teaching license permanently (he did). And there needs to be a national database to ensure that no teacher who has lost a license in one state can ever get one in another state or be employed by a school in any capacity. Currently, there is not one. That is a serious problem that no one wants to deal with.
3. Strict and highly structured long term probation including court supervised counseling. (When he was sent to prison, his counseling ceased, and as I understand it, he never went back after his sentence--so we have an offender who was not compelled to make any attempt to address the emotional/mental issues that may have contributed to the crime)
4. A prison sentence if there was any violation of probation or attempt to be on school premises or at school events or contact the victim or her family.
5. If the sex offender list were utilized, a clear delineation for him and all offenders of what their offense was. That list scares people more than it sometimes should.
Instead... he served ten months in jail, stopped all therapy, and turned up at the school's district wrestling meet a year later and there was no reason for the host school (a different school) to make him leave (they were asked to and refused based on their own polices and no legal reason compelling them to not allow someone as a spectator), and attempted to contact the victim's father.
The last I knew, he had moved to another state and had told someone he was considering going back to school to change professions and hoping to be hired as a high school football or wrestling coach somewhere eventually.
And I didn't say he was a wonderful teacher. Read carefully. I said that he was the kind of 24/7 teacher that parents and principals think are wonderful when they actually have their priorities, boundaries and lives screwed up. A few colleagues had expressed to him before this incident that he needed his own life separate from school. But he thought he was being the best kind of teacher by not having one. We have to rethink how we view that. Teachers with no personal connections outside of school and no healthy support system can develop unhealthy relationships with students. This is especially true on the high school level where teachers can be closer in age to their students. And it often crosses lines that are not sexual or criminal but still very inappropriate and very harmful to kids.
But in the midst of burning me at the internet stake, no one thought about that point.
I have a friend who is a high school teacher, just about to start teaching at a new school in a new city, and despite advice to the contrary goes out to bars and picks up women. Well at the bar one day he picked up a girl and had sex with her. He later found out she had lied about her age (she was 16 or 17) and ended up being a student at his school. Not in his classes, but at his school.
Despite the fact that if she one day decides to she could potentially ruin his life just by truthfully saying she'd had sex with him, he still continues to meet girls at a bar. I don't get high school teachers who do that - the chances of running into your students, when the legal drinking age is 18, is insanely high.
I also have a friend who was hit on by a teacher while in high school. He hit on her constantly (he was young, about 23 or 24). She continually turned down his advances, citing that he was her teacher, that she had a boyfriend, etc. When she graduated, he immediately came up to her and said 'I'm not your teacher anymore...' she turned and walked away.
Young teachers in high schools need to have guidance about what the boundaries are. There truly is not a huge age gap between new teachers and seniors (four or five years, and sometimes less)--even less between student teachers and seniors. I had a college student in my classroom to observe once who many of the seniors he was observing told me they had been at the same parties as --the kid was only two years older than them. This is why it is so important to help young teachers understand and set boundaries. Colleges need to teach it and mentors need to reinforce it when they start their careers. Unfortunately, that is rarely happening.
And parents often do not understand when the lines are being crossed. They think the teacher is dedicated and interested in their kid's education if they are texting them, following them on Twitter and friends on Facebook. In reality, boundaries are being crossed when the students and teachers are communicating socially. After that incident, it became concrete policy at the school where it happened that teachers never personally call students, text them, friend them on a social network, etc...Yet some are still doing it and some parents don't understand why that line is drawn and criticize the teachers who follow the policy.
Therefore, the original plea agreement would have been a slap on the wrist for his crime. Thus, some (rather short) incarceration does not seem unreasonable to me, even if his crime was not as serious as molesting a 4-year-old. If he molested a 4-year-old he would undoubtedly (and rightly) get a longer sentence.
It doesn't sound like he molested anyone, it sounds like he touched a girls shoulder. If that is molestation then throw me in jail. I once turned around and brushed up against a coworkers breasts. She didn't have me thrown in jail or fired. At worst he harassed her with the text messages.
Anwyay, about teachers being not much older than high schoolers. I remember in my senior year we had a new English teacher. She was very young, just graduated, probably 23 or so. I was 18 my entire senior year of high school (August birthday) and we could have legally been having sex. Of course, she is not my type, but you get the point. However, you can't really discriminate based on age when it comes to hiring. During Spring Break we saw her at the beach and she came over and had drinks with all of us and hung out. Looking back I see how entirely inappropriate that was but at the time none of us thought a thing about it.
"Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher
The original plea deal would have included a restriction on probation that banned him --for a probation period of something like five years structured and five additional years-- from setting foot in the school involved in this incident or ever attending an event at the school or that involved the school's students (i.e. an athletic contest at another school). Not every school just the school involved and events involving its students. By the time the five years supervised probation ended, he would no longer have really known any students there or had the desire he seemed to have to see them--he turned up at a couple of wrestling meets because he had coached that team.
Because he got the prison sentence instead, it was followed by a year of unsupervised probation and as such did not include that restriction. The original terms would have been, in many ways, stricter, and led to longer court supervision of the man.
Supervised long term probation also would have required him to remain in state which may have slowed the process of establishing himself elsewhere and trying to return to working with kids. He would not be able to do so here as the loss of his teaching license is on record and would be discovered quickly by any school he attempted to seek even just coaching employment at.
Of course, I'm telling you all that the system currently has gaping loop holes that allow teachers who lose licenses for crimes, abuse of children, etc...to later teach in other states and you are all more interested in cursing me.
And I'm telling you that often the very teachers everyone admires for their dedication and involvement are the most questionable ones. But the fact that Americans never want to think about that is nothing new.
As far as I am concerned, this "singer" committed internet porn. I am a parent and I would be pressing charges. This does not qualifiy as "art". This is one sick MoFo that should be on a watch list.
"awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.
PD, your words (which I quoted previously, bold mine):
He had sexual contact by sending text messages. Just because he didn't have physical sexual contact doesn't mean he doesn't belong on the sexual predators list. He got put on the list just in time IMO; he made it clear he wanted sexual contact. I don't think the police (or the judge) should wait until these predators molest people to put them on the list *and* in jail. He got what he deserved. I wish all judges took sexual contact with a minor (or with an adult who is being harassed) as seriously. Too many people think like you, that it was only a text message. It was a text message that made it clear he wanted sex with a minor.But prison and a felony conviction for not actually doing anything was a bit extreme.