Sexual Assault Grooming & Our Schools: A case Study


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a case study on sexual abuse in our public schools

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Sexual Assault Grooming & Our Schools: A case Study

  2. 2. Goals of the Presentation: Heighten awareness about teacher sex offenders Explore investigative techniques/tactics Examine difficulties/barriers in the investigation Provide insight into one victims behaviors and “mind set”
  4. 4. Statistics:When applying the number of students who reporteducator sexual misconduct to the population of allK-12 students, more than 4.5 million students aresubject to sexual misconduct by an employee of aschool sometime between kindergarten & 12thgrade
  5. 5. Statistics:•A survey from 1991 from a North Carolina HighSchool revealed that 13 percent of graduatesreported they partook in sexual intercourse with ateacher and 14 percent from another NC highschool.•Many school districts made confidentialagreements with the abusers tradingrecommendations for resignations.
  6. 6. Statistics:•In 2003, 159 Washington State coaches werereprimanded over a ten year period and 98remained employed as coaches and teachers.•Between 1991 and 2000, 290,000 studentsreported they experienced some type of physicalsexual abuse by a member of a public school staff.•A study in New York reported 225 cases of sexualabuse by a teacher and not one was reported to thepolice and less than 1% lost their teaching licenses.
  7. 7. Statistic References:Excerpt from U.S. Dept of Education,Office of the Under Secretary,Educator Sexual Misconduct: A SynthesisOf Existing Literature, Washington D.C.2004; Carol Shakeshaft
  8. 8. Statistics: Colorado Cases•Cursory research resulted in 56 known cases inColorado•Offenders ages ranged from 21 to 72 yoa•Average age 37.7 years old•Unable to verify ages of all victims, many wereteenagers•42 male/14 female offenders
  9. 9. Statistics: Colorado Cases
  10. 10. Statistics: Colorado Cases
  11. 11. Statistics: Colorado Cases
  12. 12. Statistics: Colorado CasesTypes of offenses:38 – sexual assault on a child, SAOC position of trust14 – Internet luring, sexual exploitation, child pornography4 – other (failure to rpt child use, stalking, incest, tampering w/evid)
  13. 13. Ladies and gentlemen: The story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to “protect the innocent." – or the guilty.
  14. 14. Teacher Sex Offender:The Sergeant (Retired)
  15. 15. Duties of a high ranking Sergeants in todays ARMY Enlisted soldiers who  Carries out policies and attain the distinction of standard of performance, being selected to be training, appearance and sergeant majors are the conduct of enlisted epitome of success in their personnel chosen field  Is expected to function There is no greater honor completely without supervision  Is generally the key enlisted member of staff elements
  16. 16. Todays Sergeant Distinction  To the CO, the sergeant Epitome of success major is the one person No greater honor close to him, other than his wife They set the Standard  To enlisted men, the They are the buffers sergeant major is a port in between Officers and a storm, a refuge in time of enlisted need
  17. 17. At the time of the investigation “the Sergeant” was 46 years oldEmployed as a senior JROTC instructor, High School levelMarried, two children, 14 and 1924 years active militaryBeginning his 4th year as a JROTC instructor
  18. 18. August 27Victim was telling her sister and friend about cheating on her boyfriend with older man – accidental disclosureBoyfriend is the son of the SergeantOlder man was in this 40’sSister and friend both guessed the older man was the Sergeant, which Victim affirmsVictim tells them “where they did it (sex)”
  19. 19. August 28Sister initiates pre-text phone call to victim on her own knowing that victim would deny the relationship if confronted by an adultVictim relays same information on recordingSister makes two copies of conversation
  20. 20. August 30, 2nd Day of schoolFriend of sister and victim reports incident to Principle, who notifies School Resource OfficerSRO notifies investigationsInterviews of sister, friend, and third friend scheduled and conducted  School wanted to notify parents of all involved students LE was now involved  School was advised none of the students are suspects, therefore, no parent notifications required
  21. 21. August 30, 2nd Day of schoolSister interview  Victim relayed she and the Sergeant had sex 2 times in the woods, 2 times in the JROTC classroom storage area  The Sergeant would pick victim up from home in early morning hours, and take her to school for “drill team practice” – they were the only ones present  The Sergeant voluntarily “tutored” victim  The Sergeant and Victim spent A LOT of time together during summer @ school, and at his family’s home
  22. 22. August 30, 2nd Day of schoolFriend interview  Caught Victim in a lie on 27th, and confronted her  Victim admitted to having sex with the Sergeant  Knew Victim and the Sergeant text messaged each other frequently
  23. 23. August 30, 2nd Day of school3rd friend  Her father is with the Colorado State Patrol  3rd friend advised sister to record conversation between sister and victim  3rd friend never understood why the Sergeant would pick up victim from home @ 0500 for drill team meetings in the summer when they were the only two present
  24. 24. Any Obvious RED Flags yet?“Drill team practice”Voluntarily tutoredTime together during summer @ school, and at his family’s home  Rent & Utilities
  25. 25. August 30, 2nd Day of school Victim interview Victim had two cell phones on her person – 1 was hers, other cell belonged to “Anthony”  Victim uncooperative during interview  She loved him, felt betrayed by sister and friends  Denied any relationship with the Sergeant  Finally disclosed sex between herself and the Sergeant  “He will get in trouble for everything”
  26. 26. August 30, 2nd Day of schoolVictim Interview:  Threw her glasses, pulled her hair  Admitted to “sexting” on phones  Did not want to give password information – eventually did  Passwords were each others first names  Victim admitted second phone was given to her by the Sergeant (HTC Evo 4G)  After interview – suicide precautions  It was also learned that the Sergeant was paying the victim’s family’s utility bills
  27. 27. August 30, 2nd Day of school School District  Principle and Superintendant initiated suspension of the Sergeant -prior to end of day  Advised in suspension letter that “police recommended” suspending the Sergeant with pay pending investigation  Advised according to a new state law, parents, staff, and students be notified  An interview was scheduled with the Sergeant at 0900 the next day with Police
  28. 28. August 30, 2nd Day of schoolPrior to leaving school  Principle and District staff enquired about a suicide watch for the Sergeant  the Sergeant never exhibited signs of self harm  “Yes sir – No sir” throughout entire contact  Search of JROTC storage areas conducted, nothing located
  29. 29. August 30, 2nd Day of school2100hrs  the Sergeant son texts victim’s phone  “Have you seen my dad?”  Welfare/ATL bolo sent out to surrounding agencies
  30. 30. August 31, 3rd Day of Schoolthe Sergeant’s Interview:  the Sergeant fails to show at 0900hrs  Time was given for him to contact us  Contacted the Sergeants Wife  the Sergeant never came home yesterday  the Sergeant has PTSD  All calls go direct to voicemail  Did not seem concerned as the Sergeant sometimes does this when he is stressed  Wife never asked about why the Sergeant had an interview LE  2nd Welfare/ATL bolo aired
  31. 31. August 31, 3rd Day of schoolArrest warrant issued for the Sergeant – School notifiedSchool immediately issues parent notification  “Warrant issued for the Sergeant , sexual assault, charges have been filed”  “Has been arrested”
  32. 32. September 1, 4th Day of schoolMedia Firestorm erupts  Facebook explodes with support for the Sergeant , damns the alleged accuser3 search warrant applications submitted for:  Phone contents (Phone given to Victim by the Sergeant)  Subscriber information for above phone  Phone contents for Victims phone  Mother had given prior consent
  33. 33. September 1, 4th Day of schoolColorado Turkey season started Sept 1  1300hrs Hunter finds red vehicle with deceased male inside while hunting  Location inside Fremont County, secluded area in canyon  Detectives and FCSO respond  Locate red vehicle – engine still running
  34. 34. September 1, 4th Day of schoolDuring the interview, Jennie admitted to having a substance abuse problemAlso admitted knowing victims, but denied any wrongdoingShe stated that the victims were her babysittersAll she had done was try to help the boys and be a “mentor” to them
  35. 35. September 1, 4th Day of school
  36. 36. the Sergeant identified as deceased in vehicleAdvanced stages of decomposition  Body was bloated, dense fly population  Excessive heat inside vehicle  Estimated at 2 days (August 30?)Evidence recovered:  Suicide note, cell phone receipt (HTC Evo 4G), cell phone booklets
  37. 37. Cell Phone Contents:Victim Phone (Cell #1)  14 photos of the Sergeant , 10 of which the Sergeant is exposing his penis  1 “Teen Pregnancy facts” PDF  NO text messages between the Sergeant/Victim  Calendar entries  July 6 sex with SGM  July 13 sex with SGM  July 27 sex with SGM  Aug 8 sex with SGM  Aug 24 sex with SGM
  38. 38. Cell Phone Contents:Cell # 2  From evidence located in car:  the Sergeant purchased phone August 3  Credit card  Subscriber info:  the Sergeant, gives School address  Phonebook lists only 2 people  “Alfred” as the owner  “Ashlee”
  39. 39. Cell Phone Contents:Cell # 2  Text Messages:  the Sergeant “If I only had practice longer I could have given u a kiss”  Vic “I know  but its ok”  the Sergeant “I hope so cant wait to kiss your sexy lips”  Vic “when would u like too?”
  40. 40. Cell Phone Contents:Cell # 2  Text Messages:  the Sergeant “had a nice dream about you last night. I was kissing you neck, caressing your ass, kissing your lips. Sucking on your tits”  Vic “Mmmmm ‘)”  the Sergeant “then you had me put my cock between your tits and you stroked him until he came”  Vic “”  More of the same
  41. 41. Cell Phone Contents:Cell # 2  Text Messages:  Vic “I love u SGM!!!”  Vic “I hope saying SGM doesn’t creep you out”.
  42. 42. “Ashlee” and the victim had the exact same cell phone numberCalendar entries  July 6 sex with (victim)  July 13 sex with (victim)  July 27 sex with (victim)  Aug 8 sex with (victim)  Aug 24 sex with (victim)  All calendar dates were set as REOCCURING
  43. 43. 18 incoming phone calls from Victim  Utilizing her the victims real name, 1 using “Ashlee”122 outgoing calls to victim14 missed calls from victim
  44. 44. the Sergeant’s personal cell phone, recovered from vehicle  August 30 - unsent texts to immediate family  “Please remember the good in me  “I love you, please forgive me”  “I always loved you, forgive me”  Several incoming texts from family  Last text from son  “Daddy please come home we miss u soo much we want you home we can get thru this dad please come home dad please”
  45. 45. Investigative Tactics/Techniques:Minimal & direct efforts to obtain info about suspect from witnesses/victimsAvoid alarming/tipping off suspect (the Sergeant was never directly told what the interview was about – just allegations of possible abuse by a student, sex was never mentioned)Pre-text phone calls (gains truthful & relevant info from suspect and/or victim)
  46. 46. Investigative Tactics/Techniques:Obtain as much info about suspect and victim as possible from friends/witnessesJudicious use of search warrants even if you never get to serve themPAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL  It was blind luck that the victim brought the second cell phone in that belonged to “Anthony”  “Anthony” is the Sergeant’s middle name
  47. 47. Barriers/Difficulties Encountered:No interview with suspect was ever obtainedUncooperative victim interview, at times Reid was usedSchool officials wanted updates as they happened, play by playNew law mandated school release arrest information within 24 hours and notify staff, parents, students, and past studentsOutcry of support for the Sergeant from other students, school staff, parents, and family via Facebook
  48. 48. Media coverage/hype (one TV station reported the Sergeant’s suicide was GSW)Labor/time intensive (60hours in 4 days)Victim did not consider themselves as a victimStudents at school threatened victim via facebookthe Sergeant’s family/former soldiers “there is no way in hell he did this”
  49. 49. Commonalities:•Selective with victims•Access/time alone with victims•Use of technology to groom•Staff, student suspicions•Administration/ colleague failure to respond/ report•Use of authority, retaliation, getting offender “introuble”
  50. 50. Commonalities:•Secrecy & dishonesty•Continually tests boundaries•Grooming is well-organized; long or short term•Accomplished at presenting a “respectable” façade•Highly manipulative to victims, family, friends, co-workers, supervisors, etc•Generally personable; seeks to “befriend” thosearound them
  51. 51. For more information: Detective Derek Irvine Canon City Police Dept 161 Justice Center Road Canon City, CO 81212 (719) 276-5600
  52. 52. For more information: Detective David Elliott Canon City Police Dept 161 Justice Center Road Canon City, CO 81212 (719) 276-5600