The Risk Associated With Students Moonlighting For Teachers And School Personnel

A 42-year-old basketball coach is arrested and charged with repeated sexual assault of a child. According to the charges, the perpetrator had been sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl who often babysits his children. He had been abusing her since she was in the fifth grade.

Police received the report about the sexual assault from the father of the victim who found her cutting herself in her bedroom. When he asked her why he was doing that, the girl revealed that the coach had been sexually abusing her.

When the father reported the matter to police, he said he also found some "disgusting" text messages and photos on his daughter's phone from the perpetrator. The victim told police the perpetrator often came home early while she was babysitting his children. He would touch her inappropriately and leave the bathroom door open when he was taking a shower. He would also "lie on top of her in a sexual position." The girl also stated the perpetrator would "take the long way while driving her home and touch her inappropriately in the car."

The perpetrator and the child exchanged several text messages and Snapchat videos. The girl stated the two had exchanged nude photos at his request through Snapchat.

The high school that used to employ the accused issued a statement that it did a criminal background check before hiring the coach and that the abuse allegations did not involve members of the team that he coached. KARE 11 Staff, "Wis. Coach charged with sexually assaulting babysitter," (Aug. 30, 2017).

Commentary and Checklist

Although the victim was not a student of the coach, there are hundreds of examples of school participants sexually abusing students at their homes. Consequently, schools should seriously consider policies prohibiting teachers and other employees from employing students to work at their residences.

Research shows that most sexual abuse occurs in a residence, usually that of the victim or perpetrator – 84 percent for children under the age of 12 and 71 percent for children ages 12 to 17. Students working at the home of a school employee, like babysitters, are put at risk.

What other steps can schools take to help prevent student sexual abuse?

  • Carefully observe how school participants interact with students. Does a participant go out of his or her way to be alone with a particular student?
  • Watch for inappropriate personal or online relationships between school participants and students.
  • Remember that sexual abuse of students can be perpetrated by both male and female teachers.
  • Report any teacher to the administration who gives gifts, money, or other in appropriate rewards to a student.
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