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article imageAre schools the perfect employer for sexual predators?

By Nikki Weingartner     Mar 1, 2009 in World
Sexual predators are always on the prowl in search of their carefully selected victim. For child predators, what better place than a school? Children in schools are becoming victims to these criminals hiding behind the safety net of their position.
In an epidemic that continues to sweep across the nation, the stories of vulnerable students being victimized sexually by those in positions of power and authority are perceivably on the rise. There are no areas more prone to the crime, with Christian schools and public schools being equal venues for possible prey. And the victims are without stereotypical gender bias as the benchmarker of sorts shocked the nation back in 2005 when the strikingly beautiful and mentally ill Debra Lafave was found guilty of statutory rape of a 14-year-old student, but received no jail time for her crime. Yet before that model case, there was Mary Kay Letourneau, the elementary teacher of Vili Faulauu, who later became sexually involved with him when he was around 13-years-old.
Letourneau was found guilty of child rape and sentenced to prison, where she later gave birth to Faulauu's child. After being released on a suspended sentence, she violated the terms of release by coming into contact with the teen, so her seven and a half year sentenced was reinstated and at times, carried it out in solitary confinement, but not before police noticed she was pregnant again with a second Faulauu child. The couple married in 2005 after her release from prison and Faulauu's turning of 21-years-old. There is a twenty year age gap between the couple.
Not all stories have quite the fairytale ending, with the victims of these criminal acts experiencing emotional scarring that runs deeper than the lay-observer could understand and yet the act of teachers targeting students for sexual acts continues to be problematic across the country.
In the month of February in Texas, there were several incidents involving arrests, and one indictment, with sexually related charges surrounding students, some as young as 6 at the time of the incident.
The first was a 38-year-old Algebra teacher at a Christian school in Azle, Texas who was arrested and bonded in two separate cases stemming from late 2008 where she was said to have performed oral sex on one of the kids in his own driveway and had "deviate sexual intercourse" with another, according to a local newspaper. An affidavit further detailed how the teacher would molest one of the students on a daily basis. The charges of improper sexual behaviour were said to have occurred both at school and off campus. The students were 17 and 18 at the time of the report, but Texas law has a 20-year penalty for each offense of inappropriate sexual behaviour with a student aside from child sex charges.
A few hours away in the town of Round Rock, Texas, Major Cullin Lumpkins, the Junior ROTC teacher at Round Rock High School, was arrested for child sexual assault for a crime committed in 2007. According to an Austin news report, Lumpkins admitted on February 25th to performing oral sex on a 14-year-old girl in Hutto, Texas. The child was not a student of Round Rock High School.
He had been with the school since 2004 and served 22 years in the United States Marine Corp. He was still in prison last week while investigators encouraged any potential victims who were exposed to Lumpkins to come forward.
And yet, the tragic violation of children goes on in the state as an employee at La Joya in the computer lab has been charged with touching the "private parts" of at least ten young students in exchange for candy. It took the better part of a year for police to arrest Armando Gutierrez for fondling the first grade students in computer lab at Clinton Elementary School and some are calling it a cover up because of the family relationship between the school's Assistant Principal and the alleged molester.
The victims are said to be having nightmares over the past year, with some able to differentiate between normal touching such as parental bathing and the "grabbing" made by Gutierrez. Although officials in the case dismissed allegations of nepotism being the reason for the delay and even his presence at school after the children informed their parents they had been molested by the computer lab proctor, he is in jail on $2.5 US Million bail, with additional charges pending.
Sadly, the school system provides a perfect playground for sex offenders who have not yet been caught. There is no blood test or screening exam that weeds out these often charismatic and charming individuals. Moreover, it is typically in hindsight that the masses show their "shock" at the behavior exhibited by the perpetrator, making statements such as how they were "always so nice."
Educate your children on what is appropriate as far as touching and boundaries, as well as telling someone if they have been violated regardless of what the person who has violated them has said. For more information on protecting your children, visit the National Alert Registry.
Here is another story that happened in the state of Texas this month where a first year teacher resigned after admitting to being involved with an 18-year-old student. The unnamed teacher faces 20 years in prison for the inappropriate relationship.
More about Teachers, Molesters, Texas
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