Background Check: Examples follow-up. :( (Long)
Tue, 25 Oct 1994 09:05:02 -0700
There have now been several more statements on the proposed
background checks and the effectivness of them, and of the
I have three examples of how effective these are, or will be.
One comes from recent local news, The second from semi-recent
national news, the last from an experience of one of my friends
about five years ago.
A substitute teacher was recently arrested in the HS that my
son attends, for "public indecency" or some other charge. He
was observed by a female student to be masturbating in the back
of a classroom during the showing of a film. This student got
up from her desk immediately, went up to him and told him she was
sick and needed a hall pass. This teacher gave her one, where-
upon she went to the office and reported the incident. After
the teacher was arrested, it was found THAT HE HAD BEEN ARRESTED
FOR SIMILAR BEHAVIOR SEVERAL TIMES IN THE LAST YEAR, AND WAS
CURRENTLY AWAITING TRIAL ON THE MOST RECENT CHARGE! All sub-
stitute teachers are fingerprinted and BACKGROUND CHECKED in
this state prior to being used. Why wasn't he identified?
Because he never listed that he was a substitute teacher when
arrested, and so DID NOT SHOW UP ON THE CHECK OF POLICE RECORDS!!
Pretty effective, wasn't it?
Earlier this year, in the Chicago area, another substitute teacher
was arrested after molestation complaints by ten or so students.
The teacher was arrested. During the Police investigation, they
determined that the stories did not jive, and started questioning
the students further. After about a week, they finally determined
that the original charges were cooked up by the students for
retaliation because the teacher would not let them get away with
something in the classroom. By the time the Police report came
out, his wife (as I understood the story) had filed for divorce,
he had lost his teaching certification, and been fired from his
regular (evening) job.
When my son was playing LL several years ago, I became friendly
with a COP from our area who was also involved in BSA. He
related to me a rather disconcerting story about the abrupt
departure of a particular leader from his Troop. When one of the
boys returned from one of the campouts, he told his parents about
an incident involving one of the ASMs. The parents had the boy
examined by the childs doctor, and the incident was verified. The
father then called my friend the COP. The COP called the CC, and
the two of them went to visit ASM C. Molester. CM immediately
resigned from the Troop, the YMCA, and the other child related
activities that he was involved in. In return, THE COP AND THE
CC DID NOT FILE CHARGES OR REPORT THE INCIDENT TO ANY OF THE
ORGANIZATIONS WITH WHICH THE CM WORKED!! This last, BTW is, I
believe, a violation of BSA rules, and possibly the law.
Now, how effective will fingerprinting of volunteer leaders be,
citing the above examples?
I could go on and on about this, but I think that this covers the
basics of the problem.
One other point here. In a TV program about child abuse that was
aired locally a number of years ago, there was related a story of
an English couple whose six year old daughter broke both of her
ankles under what the doctor determined were mysterious cirsumstances,
The doctor, as was his duty, reported the "incident" to local Child
Protection authorities, who stepped in and made an investigation.
Their determination was the there was no abuse, and the childs ankles
had been broken exactly as the parents stated. However, because the
initial report was "suspected child abuse", the girl's mother, who
was attending college, had to change her major. Reason? She was
training for a career working with children, and AS AN ACCUSED CHILD
ABUSER, WAS BARRED FROM _EVER_ WORKING IN THAT FIELD, EVEN THOUGH THE
CHARGES HAD BEEN _PROVED UNFOUNDED_. I.e., accused = guilty.
Is that what we want? Because that is where we are heading!
We have, in this country, a legal doctrine that states the the accused
must br presumed innocent until "proven" guilty. Even though the
principle still stands, there are now two areas, possibly more, where
the presumtion of guilt, rather that innocence, is the norm. The
two that come to mind are: Any dealings with the IRS. Any charges
of child abuse or molestation.
I am frightened, Scouter friends! Really frightened!
Chuck Bramlet, ASM Troop 323,
Thunderbird District, Grand Canyon Council, Arizona
I didn't used to be anything! (Except younger) Maybe someday...
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