Understanding The Unique Dynamics of Allegations of Sexual Relations Between Students and Staff in an Educational Setting:
GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
Society Errors on the Side of Caution
Innocent People have their lives torn apart on the least credible of accusations. Police Departments feel the need to make an arrest, rather than taking the chance that the accused might be innocent. School Districts often suspend the staff member, before any truth can be ascertained as to guilty or innocence. Even if cleared, a teacher or other staff member is subject to suspicion and ridicule, stigmatized, and future employers may think twice about hiring them.
Working in a school as an educator or administrator is a heavily regulated field that requires background checks through the FBI Database, otherwise known as a livescan report. If you are arrested, that arrest will follow you for the rest of your life, and require an explanation to the licensing board for the Teacher Credentialing or other positions. Most good careers require a license of one type or another, Real Estate, Teaching, Attorney, and almost every other lucrative career requires you to complete a background check.
Students and Staff Crimes committed against students by a person of trust are come of the most complex cases. The general public is outraged at even and accusation. Be it rape, statutory rape, sexual assault, and other sex related crimes are alleged against an adult in and educational setting, as a society we understand we have to error on the side of caution, and remove the adult until the situation is better understood. However, this same tendency to error on the side of caution, for the safety of the children, also leads to harm for an adult, educator, coach or other staff member who is accused of committing these crimes.
If your are accused, or believe you will be accused, arrested, suspended, or even under suspicion of having committed sexual misconduct in an educational setting, you should seek counsel immediately.
Jonathan Rooker has worked with educators who have been accused of sex related crimes. He has effectively assisted multiple cases, and helped avoid charges being filed against them.
This blog was written in response to multiple recent accusations of sexual misconduct in our Fresno County Schools, including the recent accusations levied in Clovis Unified School District against two employees.
The first allegation involved a Washington Unified School District teach who was arrested in connection with lewd acts with students. The Fresno County Sheriff's office reported. A 39 year old teach posted a bond of $180.000 after his arrest.
It is alleged that he was working as an educator at American Union Elementary School near Easton at the time of the alleged events. An investigation had been ongoing since April of 2014. There had been reports that the accused had touched female students in an inappropriate or sexual manner both during school hours and also during after-school hours.
The Article on the Fresno Bee website even posted the block and approximate address of the accused. One doesn't have to look to far ahead to see that this could cause the accused to be placed in harms way due to the release of such personal information. Property damage and physical harm are real concerns when accused of such a crime, and having the home address of the accused printed for all to know. It may cause concern and disdain among his neighbors as well.
The Principal stated that, "The district takes the allegations against Mr. Gomez very seriously and will work with law enforcement and the District Attorney's office."
Notice that working with the defense is never mentioned, it is as if the accused is presumed guilty, and all we, as the public have to base our opinion is the fact he was arrested. We must keep in mind, to be licensed, credentialed, and hired at a school there is a rigorous background investigation, and an individual who is cleared must pass all aspects of the background check to be cleared to work in a school and receive his credential. A lifetime of good behavior, law abiding behavior is ignored with a single accusation.
Clovis Unified School District Employees Accused
Two male employees at Clovis high School were also arrested during the beginning of the new year on January 9, 2015. Both have been arrested for separate sexual incidents with the same student. Once of the accused is a former Fresno State University football player who coaches at Clovis High, or did up until this accusation. The Fresno Bee article even added insult to injury by bringing up a play from his college days where he was beaten by Reggie Bush for a touchdown in one of the more memorable games in recent Fresno State history, approximately 9 years ago. The accused declined comment when asked if he had anything to say about what happened.
The other accused was a photography teacher at Clovis High School. He also coached baseball and worked as a scorekeeper for the Fresno Grizzlies last summer. The article points out another negative about him, adding that he was fired from the score keeping job, which has no relevance to the accusation. Also, the article fails to point out he rigorous background and credentialing requirements that the accused had to pass before ever stepping into the classroom.
Clovis high spokeswoman stated that, "Our school became aware of the possibility of a rumor that there might be an inappropriate relationship between a student and a staff member on late Wednesday,"
The belief of the investigators is that one of the accused was sexually involved with a student who was 17 at the time, the probe was turned over to the Clovis Police Department when it expanded from one staff member (teacher) to include the second, a coach.
Search warrants were obtained by the police, and both subjects were arrested. They believe the student, who turned 18 in December, was involved in separate incidents with both men. There is no allegation that any of the incidents, or crimes, took place on campus. Police indicated a belief there was no other victims.
If you work in an educational setting and you are being accused, contact an educated and experienced criminal defense attorney to help defend you. Jonathan Rooker is well educated on the laws and procedures in school districts, having worked in the educational setting and gained a Masters Of Science in Educational Counseling and PPS Credential. His unique education and experience can help defend you against allegations of sexual misconduct in an educational setting.