By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A major media watchdog organization is questioning why the many child sex abuse scandals that have been raging in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have been left virtually unreported by the mainstream media.
“When it comes to the abuse of children, it sure seems like the national media doesn’t get too worked up unless the words ‘Cardinal,’ ‘bishop,’ or ‘priest’ is in someone’s job title,” writes Dave Pierre of Newbusters.com.
According to Pierre, just since May of this year, a long list of school officials has been charged with serious offenses.
In one case, a high school athletic coach and special education assistant was charged with 12 felony counts of sexually assaulting an underage girl, including five counts of abusing the victim while she was unconscious and one count of possession of child pornography. Police believe there may be more victims in the crime.
Another case involved a former special education high school teacher who was sentenced to three years in prison after charges of lewd conduct, child molestation, and abuse. The alleged crimes involved four “particularly vulnerable” students.
A high school principal was arrested for possession of child pornography on his home computer. Authorities also discovered that he had posed as a 12 year old girl in an online chat room and engaged in sexually explicit talk.
Another high school teacher pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail for having sex with a minor. County deputies actually caught the teacher and the underage female student in the back of a car in a parking lot.
Just last week, a former assistant principal at an LAUSD middle school, Steve Thomas Rooney, was arrested again after already being charged with molesting three students and is now facing as many as 18 felony counts. Rooney was assigned to his job at the middle school in August, 2007 even though the LAUSD knew the police had investigated him about an alleged sexual relationship he had with a student at a previous job. This girl has since testified that Rooney impregnated her. The LAUSD removed two senior administrators from their posts for mishandling the case, then quietly returned the two to work. A third administrator, a high school dean, eventually surrendered to face charges that he withheld evidence regarding Rooney and one of the underage female students.
When LAUSD Deputy Superintendent Ramon Cortines discussed one of these scandals with KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, he said “This is not out of the ordinary for school districts all over the nation. These things happen.”
“’These things happen’?” writes Pierre. “Where’s the outrage? Where’s the media coverage? Since 2002, the media has frolicked in covering decades-old allegations of sexual abuse by clergy of the Catholic Church. In fact, they still take joy in hammering the Church, even with misinformation and falsehoods.”
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