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Did This Teacher Molest Students?

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A popular teacher in a Santa Monica, Calif., middle school was arrested on suspicion of molesting at least four female students during school hours.


A popular teacher in a Santa Monica, Calif. middle school was arrested on suspicion of molesting at least four female students during school hours. As parents, it's difficult to wrap your heads around how this possibly happened. We asked safety expert Pattie Fitzgerald of Safely Ever After, Inc., to give us some insight. Here's what she had to say:

"Naturally it's very upsetting to think that someone you've trusted with your kids could do something as disturbing as molesting a child. It shakes us to our very core, leaving us feeling vulnerable and unprotected.

When the accused happens to be a well-respected or popular authority figure, it's very common to see community members react with disbelief and denial. Often you'll hear comments like: "it can't be true, he was such a nice guy, he never tried anything with my child."

Sex offenders are experts at grooming parents and kids into thinking they're the pillar of the community. In fact, it's what they count on us believing.  It's how they get away with doing with they do, often for years at a time. So, how can we protect our kids? By paying attention to the clues and cues of those adults who interact with them on a regular basis. Talk to your kids daily, ask questions, and most importantly LISTEN to what they have to say."

Red Flags
Someone who repeatedly tries to arrange one-on-one, alone time with a child.
Someone who lavishes an extraordinary amount of attention or praise on a particular child.
Someone who often gives special gifts or treats to one child for no apparent reason.
Someone who prefers to spend most of their free time with children and seems to have no interest in age-appropriate relationships or friendships with other adults or colleagues.

What to tell your kids:
No one has the right to touch you in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Sometimes people may seem nice at first, and later ask you to do something you don't want to do.
It's okay to say NO, even to an adult who gives you an "uh-oh" feeling.
It's not your fault if someone tries to touch you inappropriately.
Tell a parent or another trusted adult if you feel bad.
If you can't tell your parent, find someone else to help you -- maybe the parent of a close friend. Keep telling until you get help."

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Dale May 7, 2008, 9:07 AM

This is happening all over the country. Go to and click on the Scandal page. They have documented over 190 of these types of incidents since just the beginning of 2008.

Mama J May 14, 2008, 12:08 PM

As a parent, I am outraged that teachers do not take accountability when something like this happens. We need to protect our children and we can’t do it if teachers continually act this way and support such actions. Guidelines and Protocol are not enough. There needs to be more done.

concerned mother May 14, 2008, 3:09 PM

Teachers should NEVER be in a room alone with one student. Many professions need chaparones, they did it to themselves!!

Barbara  May 15, 2008, 12:52 AM

Sorry, guys, Im sure there are a lot of wonderful male teachers out there. But they won’t be teaching my kids, unfortunately because of a few bad apples.

Ezay September 7, 2010, 9:43 PM

Oh for the love of God, nobody even proved he molested anyone! It’s stupid parents like this that make teachers so powerless and unable to do necessary things like beat kids and suspend them.

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