Abuse and cover-up … in a school system

Abuse and cover-up … in a school system

For those who say that only in the Catholic Church do we find people in charge covering up for sexual predators in their midst, I give you Exhibit A: a teacher in Palo Alto, California, is being investigated for failing to report a fellow teacher who was having sex with one of his students. One of this fourth- or fifth-grade students.

The district is looking into a court report that Rick Ehrhorn, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Ohlone School, knew about his friend Bill Giordano’s illicit acts in the 1990s but did not report it to authorities. “We take these allegations very, very seriously,’’ said Superintendent Mary Frances Callan.

Like the US bishops, apparently the Palo Alto school district was on a very long learning curve too.

Child-safety advocates say school districts must install safeguards—ones that survive changes in administrations—to avoid scrambling when allegations arise…. Palo Alto, with a string of sexual abuse cases dating back more than 25 years, seemed without up-to-date policies and unprepared to cope with the revelations in the Giordano case.

However, everyone seems much more concerned with the accused teachers’ rights than they do with accused priests’ rights.

Although some might see a too-little, too-late response, education experts note the struggle school districts face to balance employees’ privacy rights—and the presumption of innocence—with aggressive moves to protect students from predators.

Too bad teachers are not allowed to marry, since celibacy is the cause of sexual molestation of children. Oh wait…

It’s also interesting to note that according to US Department of Education and Dept. of Justice statistics the incidence of abuse in schools is much, much higher than that in the Catholic Church.

Does that excuse abuse in the Church or the cover-up by bishops? Of course not. We are not wrong to expect the Church to be better about such things, but it does answer the charges by some people that the Church’s teachings on sexual morality and her discipline of priestly celibacy are causes of the Scandal. Sexual abuse of minors is rampant in our society and it has several wide-ranging causes. The Church’s ancient teachings and laws are not among them.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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