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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Accused of Sexual Abuse, But Back in the Classroom

If you think this is unique to Los Angeles or other far away big cities, think again. The public education establishment is very good at hushing up this problem, but the South Carolina State Board of Education routinely deals with issues of child sexual abuse by teachers.

From Los Angeles Times
By Jason Song

The 13-year-old on the witness stand looked to be an ordinary adolescent, her diffident smile unveiling a set of braces. Her attorney began gently, with questions about her favorite band and trips to the mall.

Then he brought up "Mr. Ricardo" and second grade. The girl buried her face in her hands and sobbed.

When her mother took the stand, she testified that the girl had not been the same since the day the teacher's aide put his hands on her. "I just beli
eve this whole thing changed her life," the mother said. "I don't see her so confident around people. . . . I believe she has no interests."

A jury late last year ordered the Los Angeles Unified School District to pay nearly $1.6 million to the families of three girls molested by Ricardo Guevara, who is now serving 15 years in prison for lewd acts with a child.

But there was something the jury -- and the public -- was never told: This was the third set of accusations that Guevara had molested students. Twice before, when law enforcement officials had decided they lacked the evidence to win a criminal conviction, L.A. Unified officials had quietly put him back in the classroom.

Guevara's case fits a pattern, a Times investigation shows: Repeatedly, the district failed to follow up on sexual misconduct complaints against employees once police or prosecutors dropped criminal actions. Some ended up at new schools. In at least one instance -- involving Guevara -- the new principal had no idea of his history.

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