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4/14/14: Weekend Round-up of Child Sex Abuse in the News

LOCAL

Sacramento, CA – EDITORIAL: Finally, there is a bill to speed firing of dangerous teachers
The threat of a ballot initiative has persuaded the California Teachers Association to negotiate a new process for teacher dismissal.  EdVoice, an educational advocacy group based in West Sacramento, titled its proposed initiative: “Stop Child Molesters, Sexual Abusers and Drug Dealers from Working in California Schools Act.” Read more here:

NATIONAL

Philadelphia, PA – Officials urge state House to require schools to report abuse
A coalition led by state Sen. Anthony Williams, D-8, of Philadelphia, is urging lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to approve the “Pass the Trash” bill, designed to keep school districts from sending teachers suspected of child sexual abuse to other districts.  Williams, the sponsor of Senate Bill 46, which passed in the Senate last year, was joined Thursday by Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan and Darby Township Police Chief Len McDevitt.  They urged the House to send the bill to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature.  Read more here:

Katy, TX – 2nd alleged sex abuse victim comes out against Katy cheer coach
An alleged second victim of a cheer coach in the Katy area has made an outcry to Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office detectives concerning sexual abuse.  An adult female contacted a detective with the Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, March 29, concerning an incident when she was 15 years old. She said the owner of the gym, Devincent Phillips, now 40, made unwanted sexual contact with her when she was attending his cheer gym, Xcel Athletics, located in the Katy area.  Read more here:

Steubenville, OH – Coach to do community service for not reporting abuse in Steubenville rape case
A Steubenville High School wrestling coach will perform community service and attend training on the problem of sexual violence as part of a plea deal after he was indicted for failing to report child abuse or neglect.  A grand jury in November indicted Seth Fluharty and four other school officials in the fallout from the Steubenville High rape case, in which two football stars raped a semi-conscious teenage girl in 2012.  Read more here:

Middletown, CT – Students Create Website to Raise Awareness of Sexual Assault
On Sunday, April 6, students launched a new website titled Silence is Violence (silence-is-violence.org), which features both testimonials of survivors of sexual assault and student-submitted quotes of overheard conversations on campus that they found triggering or offensive. “A lot of what we were looking at when we were starting this website was what other schools were doing,” Jarris said. “So that’s where we got this idea…. [It was] a combination of what other people are doing and what we thought the need was at Wesleyan. Obviously a top priority is that this supports survivors, and that is a main intention of the website: to not only raise broader awareness but to be a place where survivors can talk about this safely and hear other people’s stories.”  Read more here:

Hartford, CT– Lawmakers vote to require better responses by CT colleges to sexual assaults
The state House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday that would ensure that colleges and universities provide free counseling services when a student reports she has been sexually assaulted, regardless of where the incident took place. “As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter where it took place if a student is involved,” Rep. Roberta Willis, House chairwoman of the legislature’s Higher Education Committee, said during an interview after the chamber unanimously adopted the bill.  Read more here:

Des Moines, IA – U of I student expelled for sexual assault is the first in at least a decade
A University of Iowa student has been expelled and permanently separated from the university after his alleged sexual assault of another UI student on Jan. 15, according to a document obtained by the Press-Citizen.  The expulsion from UI is the first in at least a decade, perhaps longer, UI administrators say.  On April 1, Dean of Students David Grady sent a letter to the victim, whose name is not being disclosed, stating that the alleged student had violated the UI’s sexual misconduct policy and withdrew this Spring 2014 semester registration.  Read more here:

Harrisburg, PA – Is there a gender bias in cases of sexual assault? A live chat recap
Do we have a gender bias when it comes to underage sexual assault? Is the act of a male teacher having sex with students more deplorable than the act of female teachers doing the same? Are we more forgiving as a society of relationships between older women and younger men?  Those are some of the questions we posed to Kristen Houser, vice president of public relations for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. Houser joined us yesterday for a discussion of those issues and more, in light of a recent story involving a teacher charged with institutional sexual assault.   Read more here:

Medford, OR – Foster parent arrested on sexual abuse charges
Medford man is in jail on charges he sexually abused foster children in his care, Medford police reported today.  James Eldon Mobley, 77, was arrested April 2, the day Medford police started an investigation with the Department of Human Services’ Child Welfare office. He remains in jail on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.  While investigating reported sexual abuse of a child in Mobley’s care, detectives found a second child that had allegedly been abused, according to a Medford police release. Read more here:

Tacoma, WA – Lawsuit: State failed sexually abused girl at 3 foster homes
A former foster child raped and abused at three Western Washington foster homes has sued the state, claiming too little was done to protect her.  In a lawsuit filed earlier this week at U.S. District Court in Tacoma, attorneys for the girl claim she was sexually assaulted at all three homes where she was placed after she was pulled from her mother’s care as a young child. Two of the girl’s former foster fathers have since been convicted of child molestation, as has one of her foster brothers. Read more here:

Port Canaveral, FL – Disney crew charged with molesting teenage passenger
A Disney Cruise Line crew member has been arrested and charged with molesting a 13-year-old female passenger.  The alleged incident took place on the Disney Dream and an arrest was made on Thursday when the ship docked in Port Canaveral in Florida.  The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office named the accused as Ahmed Sofyan, aged 36, from Jakarta, Indonesia.  Disney confirmed Sofyan has been dismissed.  Police say he has been charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and false imprisonment of a 13-year-old girl.  Read more here:

Paragon, IN – Hendricks County Couple Charged with Child Molestation
A couple from Paragon, Indiana is behind bars on child molestation charges.  Indiana State Police say 25-year-old Nicholas Catron and his fiance, 24-year-old Heather Anderson, are accused of performing oral sex and having sexual intercourse with Anderson’s 13-year-old relative on five separate occasions.  Read more here:

Conroe, TX – Former Sunday School teacher sentenced to 35 years for sex assault of female relative
A former Sunday School teacher and resident of Tarkington and Conroe will spend the next 35 years of his life in prison after being convicted of Indecency With a Child for the continuous sexual abuse of a female relative.  The sentence was announced on Wednesday in the Liberty County courtroom of 253rd State District Judge Chap B. Cain.  Barring a successful appeal, Bruce Harp, 59, will be 94 years old before he is eligible for release. Prior to his conviction, Harp was offered a seven-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, but that offer was declined.  Read more here:

Warwick, RI – Baltimore teacher arrested in sex assault of minor
The former owner of a day care center in Coventry is set to be sentenced for child molestation.  WPRI-TV reports that 68-year-old David Lyons is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday after being convicted in January on three counts of child molestation.  Lyons was accused of molesting three children. He was arrested on 2011 after an 11-year-old girl told her mother he had molested her.  Read more here:

Wayne, NJ – Child abuse charges proceed to county court
A Wayne Township resident accused of sexual abuse of children waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday at Central Court. The case against him will proceed to trial in county court.

Gerald Hermann, 61, is charged with aggravated indecent assault of a child, corruption of minors, indecent assault and endangering the welfare of children. State police said Hermann is accused of fondling an 8-year-old girl last year in a bedroom at his home. Records indicate that Hermann had volunteered as a website administrator for Ellwood City Area Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization.  Read more here:

Troy, IL – Metro East school teacher accused of sexually assaulting minor
Parents in as many as three Metro East school districts are concerned after an elementary school teacher is arrested and charged with sexual misconduct involving minors.  Jason Ehlers, 36, of Bethalto, Illinois is charged with two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and two counts of criminal sexual assault.  At the time of his arrest, Ehlers was a second grade teacher at the Silver Creek Elementary School in Troy, Illinois.  Previously Ehlers had taught in the Bethalto school district and served as an administrator in the Southwestern Community Unit School District #9.  Read more here:

Bloomfield, NJ – Trial Set for Ex-Bloomfield Teacher Accused of Sexually Assaulting Student
While seven years have passed since the alleged sex assault on a then-15-year-old girl, a former music teacher is scheduled to stand trial this May.  David Scheck was indicted in 2009 on charges he sexually assaulted a West Morris Central High School student in 2007, losing his job as a band director and music teacher in 2008 as an employee in the Bloomfield Board of Education.  Read more here:

Las Vegas, NV – Teacher In Student Sex Assault Pleads
The substitute teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student is taking a plea deal with prosecutors.  Tanikka Queen pleads guilty to two felony counts. She was accused of sexual assault on a 15 year old at Hyde Park Middle School, where Queen had taught for the past year.  Read more here:

Grand Rapids, MI – Former MLB player Chad Curtis, school district sued by sex assault victims for $4 million
Three teenage victims of sexual assault have filed a federal lawsuit against former Major League Baseball player Chad Curtis and Lakewood Public Schools.  Curtis is serving seven to 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting the three student athletes while he was a substitute teacher volunteering in Lakewood High School’s weight room. The victims, who were 15 and 16 at the time the assaults occurred, said Curtis touched their breasts, buttocks and genitalia under the guise of giving them “rehabilitative massages” in a secluded room.  Read more here:

Chestertown, MD – Campus Fights Back: RAD Raises Awareness
Approximately one in four women in college will be sexually assaulted during their academic career, according the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault. That’s 25 percent of the female college students here at Washington College – more than 150 of our peers.  Of course, that number is a statistic based off of all the colleges in America, so there’s no certainty that 25 percent, or less, of the females here have been sexually assaulted, but there’s also no reason why WC would be much of an exception. It is always important to be prepared for the worst especially with daunting statistics like this one.  Read more here:

Montgomery, AL – Montgomery substitute teacher charged with sexually abusing student
A Montgomery area private school substitute teacher is charged with the sexual abuse of a student.  Anthony Ray Staten Jr., 25, was arrested Thursday and charged with electronic solicitation of a child, second-degree sexual abuse and school employee having sexual contact with a student under the age of 19 years old, Montgomery Police Lt. Regina Duckett said.   Read more here:

Charleston, SC – Teachers’ licenses can’t be permanently revoked
The state Board of Education is concerned about a policy that allows teachers who have had their licenses revoked to be reinstated after five years, regardless of the severity of their offense.  Grounds for a teaching license revocation include any charge involving sexual misconduct with a minor, or any signs of “intemperance, untruthfulness, cruelty or immorality.”  But state policies are silent on the question of how or if an educator whose license has been suspended or revoked may earn its reinstatement. Read more here:

New York, NY – Probe finds 104 school staff-student flings since 2009
More than 100 city teachers, administrators and other school staffers have been caught in the last five years engaging in sexual or “inappropriate” relationships with students, The Post has learned.

The special commissioner of investigation for city schools, Richard Condon, has fielded 593 complaints about such illicit relationships since April 2009. His office substantiated 104 cases, it ­revealed Friday. Read more here:

Elk River, MN – Detained immigrant teen assaulted by registered sex offender in Sherburne County jail
An 18-year-old high school student being held for federal immigration authorities in the Sherburne County jail was repeatedly sexually assaulted last month by his cellmate, a registered sex offender serving time in the jail as a “boarder” from the Minnesota Department of Corrections.  The assault, detailed in a criminal complaint, occurred at the state’s largest jail for immigrant detainees and highlights an emerging nationwide pattern of sexual abuse at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers.  Read more here:

Cheyenne, WY – Cheyenne elementary school teacher charged with 7 felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor
A Cheyenne elementary school teacher has been charged with seven felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor.  Anna-Maria Andersen is charged with one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, five counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor.  Court documents filed Friday show Andersen is accused of having sexual intercourse with a victim under the age of 14 on four occasions since June 2012.  Read more here:

Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn public school janitor charged with rape: police
Hernan Zapata, 51, was also cuffed on charges of sex abuse, sexual misconduct, unlawful imprisonment and assault for an allegedly assaulting a 17-year-old former student in an office at a middle school in the 88th Precinct, which includes Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, on Saturday. ‘I don’t know why anyone would say that. Whoever said that is going to hell,’ Zapata’s daughter, Michelle, said.  Read more here:

INTERNATIONAL

Badin, Pakistan – Mosque Imam rapes, kills a 12-year-old girl
A local mosque’s imam reportedly killed a 12-year-old girl student after sexually assaulting her along with three accomplices, local media reported today.  According to reports, a 12-year-old girl student reached seminary for religious education when Maulvi Ghulam Murtaza stopped her while sending other students home after dismissing class. Reportedly, Imam then called three other men of the villages and the four of them gang-raped the girl at one of the seminary rooms in the mosque. The gang then strangled the girl as a reportedly apparent attempt to cover the crime. Read more here:

Sturgis, Saskatchewan, Canada – Sturgis teacher who assaulted 12-year-old found guilty of misconduct by STF
A former Sturgis elementary school teacher convicted of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl should lose his teaching certificate, a disciplinary committee has recommended.  At a penalty hearing in Saskatoon Friday, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation executive heard an ethics committee found Trevor Latham guilty of professional misconduct, and recommend his certificate be revoked. Read more here:

Seoul, South Korea – Abusive curling coach gets lifetime ban
The Korean female curling team’s assistant coach Choi Min-suk, who offered to resign after accusations last month that he sexually abused team members, was slapped with a lifetime ban on Thursday.  Head coach Chung Young-sup, who also tendered his resignation when the issue surfaced, received a five-year suspension for failing to return the balance of unused training grants to the members. He was not involved in the alleged sexual abuse.  Read more here:

Calgary, Alberta, Canada – Former Calgary pastor charged with sex assaults dating to 1970s
A former pastor who waged a lengthy battle with the province in the 1980s over the licensing of his privately run school is back before the courts, this time to face charges in connection with the historical sex assault of two students.  Thomas Larry Jones, 69, who now lives in Carstairs, has been charged with indecent assault of a female, three counts of gross indecency, four counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference and two counts of sexual exploitation. Read more here:

Vatican City, The Vatican – Pope Francis asks forgiveness for child abuse by clergy
Pope Francis has asked for forgiveness for the “evil” damage to children caused by sexual abusers in the clergy.  He said the abuse was a “moral damage carried out by men of the Church”, and that “sanctions” would be imposed.  The statement, made in a meeting with a child rights group, is being described as his strongest the issue so far.  Last month, Pope Francis strongly defended the Roman Catholic Church’s record on tackling sexual abuse by priests, following UN criticism. Read more here:

Roermond, Netherlands – Deceased Dutch Catholic bishop was child molester: commission
The Dutch Catholic Church, in a rare admission of guilt among senior clergy, has confirmed that a bishop who died last year had sexually abused two boys decades earlier.  The diocese of Roermond said a Church commission had found that accusations against former bishop Johannes Gijsen, dating back to his time as chaplain at a minor seminary from 1958 to 1961, were “well founded”.  The admission came on Friday, the same day that Pope Francis made his first public plea for forgiveness for “all the evil” committed by priests who molested children, and said the Church had to do more to discipline wayward clerics. Read more here:

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