The Real Slavers: Yankee Teachers – Pt#2 of 4

.jpg photo of Child Sex Abuse graphic
It’s legal for a teacher to have sex with a high school student in some states


Across region, outdated Sex Abuse laws have

Statutes of limitations bottle up information about who the perpetrators are and which institutions are covering up the incidents…

BOSTON, MA  –  Several states, including Connecticut, Maine, and Texas, have revised their age of consent laws over the years to bar teachers from having sex with students, regardless of their age.

But again and again, Massachusetts lawmakers have let similar bills languish even though the Dudley police chief said there has been no formal opposition.

“I am hopeful, after a dozen or so years, something will finally be done,” Wojnar said.

Even when sexual misconduct is clearly illegal, prosecutors and attorneys are often barred from pursuing legal action because victims miss the legal deadlines to come forward.  In New York, for instance, prosecutors can’t charge abusers with some sex crimes committed against children after the victim turns 23.  And student victims are often barred from suing schools in Rhode Island after they turn 21.

The limits have been an issue even in states with more generous statutes of limitations, such as Massachusetts, where criminal sexual abuse charges involving children can be brought up to 27 years after the fact — and even later if there’s corroborating evidence, such as video or DNA.  Nonetheless, Middlesex County prosecutors determined they could not pursue allegations that Arthur P. Clarridge, the assistant headmaster of the Fessenden School in Newton, abused a former student in 1970 because too much time had elapsed.  Prosecutors sent the alleged victim a letter in July noting the statute of limitations had expired.

“I was crushed,’’ said the former student, John Sweeney, of New London, Conn., who went to authorities only after the Globe recently chronicled multiple allegations of sexual abuse at Fessenden in the 1960s and 1970s, including his.  “I wanted justice.’’

Statutes of limitation exist for a reason, of course: It can often be difficult for people to defend themselves against charges that are decades old.  Memories fade over time.  Witnesses die. Documents are no longer available.

But advocates say the restrictions often make it impossible to hold abusers accountable for their crimes and prevent them from abusing other children.

“Statutes of limitations bottle up information about who the perpetrators are and which institutions are covering up the incidents,” said Marci Hamilton, chief executive of Child USA, a think tank devoted to child protection that is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.

Some experts have also proposed increasing state licensing requirements for private school educators, so state regulators would have the legal authority to investigate complaints about sexual misconduct and discipline teachers even if they work in private schools.  (Currently, most states do not require private school teachers to be licensed.)

In addition, some advocates have proposed strengthening laws requiring educators to report sexual misconduct to the state, such as increasing the penalties for flouting the law.

Finally, some state laws actually discourage schools from reporting problem teachers, as Pomfret School in Connecticut recently pointed out.

In September, Pomfret told alumni that a seven-month investigation found four teachers likely engaged in sexual misconduct with students, one in the early 1970s, two more in the 1980s, and a fourth after 2000.  In some cases, the school acknowledged it gave the teachers recommendations to help them find new jobs.  The letter did not name the teachers.

But a school spokeswoman told the Globe that Pomfret could not even not warn other schools where the educators are working today because of state privacy laws, which generally bar employers from disclosing confidential personnel information without written permission from the workers.

Connecticut attorney Morgan Rueckert, whose law firm represents more than 30 private schools in the state, said other institutions generally have a similar interpretation of the law.

The head of Connecticut’s private school association said he thinks the privacy law should make exceptions for schools that want to warn peers about employees who have abused or harassed students.

“I think the protection of children trumps personal privacy,” said Douglas J. Lyons, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools.

Some schools also claim they have to remain silent because of sweeping confidential settlements they negotiated with the school employees or victims.  One agreement signed by the Brooks School in North Andover in 1995 was so broad that it even barred the victim from contacting any government agencies, including the police.

Victims’ lawyers argue such agreements could potentially enable people accused of sex abuse to escape prosecution and continue to abuse other children.

“Confidentiality agreements perpetuate the cover-up by the pedophile and the institution,’’ said Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who represents victims of sexual abuse.

A few states have passed laws banning confidentiality agreements or requiring schools to disclose sexual misconduct when their workers apply for new jobs.  But some of the laws, including one in Connecticut, apply only to public schools or do not cover situations like the one involving Pomfret, where teachers have already moved on.

With so little government oversight, some private school officials continue to maintain a veil of secrecy over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Cardinal Spellman, where the Siracusas said their daughter became romantically involved with her Spanish teacher when she was about 17, refused even to confirm that the teacher ever worked there, let alone that he was fired for sexual misconduct.  That’s despite the fact that the teacher was listed on the school’s website at the time.

“We do not comment on personnel matters involving any current or former employees in our schools,” said Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston.

That’s no comfort to the parents, who said they haven’t heard from their daughter in more than six years.

After she turned 18, she moved in with the teacher and broke off contact with her family, explaining in court documents in 2010 that the teacher and his wife gave her “a safe place to stay.”

Now 25, she is still living with the couple, according to public records.

Neither the teacher nor the daughter responded to e-mail or certified letters, and no one answered the door on a recent weekday.

“I remember the parents feeling helpless,” said Christopher D. Delmonte, police chief in Bridgewater, where the Siracusas live. “I would have felt the same way.”


14 thoughts on “The Real Slavers: Yankee Teachers – Pt#2 of 4”

  1. Oh man… that’s crazy? The daughter moved in with the teacher AND HIS WIFE?!?! Ugh! And I can see the problem from confidentiality agreements. Children’s lives are more important than confidentiality!!!

    1. Crazy Love Parents, Thank You for your input and continued support!!!!
      I have an important question, did you add us to a circle on Google???? I need to know so you are added as a VIP.(Don’t mention any names, I asked because we have a new one. This person was added, but not as a VIP).

      1. Crazy Love Parents, you two brought tears to my eyes. You both are very remarkable people, and I am both Honored and extremely Humbled to have “met” you.(Actually, just knowing you two great parents exist is a huge Blessing).
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        When I put Our Site on-line, everything was planned for, including Security. But I never figured Child Predators would be our biggest concern, and Google was the place we were assaulted the most.
        People obviously, for the most part, think a large part of what is written about someone’s qualifications is lies and made-up.
        To doubt me was one thing, to doubt Our Circle was folly.
        Our Circle has always been a major percentage of Veterans, and Veterans are walking Role-Models and Mentors, but they are very serious about Children.
        So, to make a long story short, my main man of Security and his wife are a carbon copy of You Crazy Love Parents, except she is the Doctor and he is “Military”.
        And we will say no more….
        EXCEPT, you think I forgot but I didn’t, if you look at both of Our Domains, in the right hand column you will see a list of “OUR FRIENDS” sites, except on a new post page, CRAZY LOVE PARENTS made it onto that list, along with being Honorary Lifetime Members of Our Circle.
        I send all Good Things your way,

      2. Just found this comment (still figuring out WordPress and have become a little overwhelmed with the responses/comments to keep up with!) my husband is also prior military- how cool! He enlisted out of high school and then went back as a medical officer to finish medical school. He was deployed to Iraq when our first son was born and thanks to a marine who owed him a favor, he was able to watch him being born my videoconference! So cool!

    2. Crazy Love Parents, Thank You for your input and continued support!!!!
      Now you are developing Super Human Vision.
      But to reply to your last statement, unfortunately a whole lot of people don’t agree with you and us.
      When I started out, I already knew stats were severely tainted in Our country, although a whole lot of people did not agree. Because of this, we grew very slowly the first year.
      After 2 1/2 years, we have proved every thing we said or published, and now we have over 14,300 Followers.
      Incidentally, when you answer, I will delete my previous comment.

      1. Crazy Love Parents, Thank You so much.
        Yes Ma’am, it really is, but it was extremely hard to deal with at first, because we grew so slowly for the longest. And this isn’t a real good topic day after day, that puts one in the mood to tip-toe through the tulips, or me at least. It eat at my well-being day after day, and night after night for quiet some time.
        I sure appreciate your input and support!!!!

      2. Crazy Love Parents,
        When we have time, I will tell you what happened within a month of opening Our website.
        Thank You for being someone with a heart of GOLD, and a great Parent!!!!

      3. Crazy Love Parents, you and your Family are in my thoughts, my heart, and my prayers every day.
        You two are very amazing, good people and obviously very good parents.
        Keep up the great work!!!!

        PS – I haven’t forgotten about putting your blog on our “wall of Friends”, hopefully by morning.

      4. Thanks for the kind words, Robert. We try, but we are humbled everyday by our need for a Savior. We could never accomplish this on our own!!! ☺️☺️☺️

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