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Wednesday, March 22, 2006 

Scandal at School

Yesterday, my son came home from school and told us about the big scandal at his school. A scandal no parent ever wants to hear.

The 59 year-old caretaker of his school was arrested on child molestation charges. My husband and I were shocked. It's not like we live in an alternate reality. We know just how widespread paedophilia is and that paedophiles aren't always the creepy looking strangers lurking on street corners and by playgrounds. They are most likely people the family knows--either friends, teachers, neighbours and even family members. Armed with all that information and the fact that I've blogged about it before, I was still completely horrified when I heard about it.

This was the same man who always opened the locked gates to the school when my son was late. The same who ran the school canteen and made sandwiches for the kids, retrieved their soccer balls when they got kicked over the fence. He warmed and served the food for the children who were part of the after-school program (φύλαξη). To think that he is now accused of molesting a 9 year-old for a month is almost impossible to reconcile.

My husband and I thought that maybe, just maybe, it was a vicious rumour but when my husband went to pick up my son's report card for the second semester and meet with his teacher, the teacher confirmed that the accusation was true and that the man was in custody as a result. Other parents are refusing to believe that it could have happened and my husband was handed a letter protesting the arrest in support of the man. Parents are having a meeting tonight to discuss the charges, but considering that the meeting seems only to serve as a show of support for the man, we decided not to attend. If the accusations against the man prove to be substantiated in court, then I want to be no part of such a meeting supporting him. I wasn't there when the incidents were said to have occurred therefore, I cannot defend his character. That is something to be decided by the judicial system.

My main concern right now is if this is the first incident involving this man because last year, I remember at the parent-teacher association meeting, they discussed another incident of the same nature which had happened the year before but no one came out and stated exactly who the culprit was. All kinds of thoughts are running through my head. What kind of background check did the school do on this man before they hired him? Was he hired as a 'friend of a friend' without any investigation to his past work experience? My son has complained about him on entirely unrelated issues with regards to his ill-temper, hygiene at the canteen and impatience with the children. Were these symptoms of a disturbed man which everyone chose to ignore or did they take on a new meaning in light of the present charges against him?

I'm sickened by the whole matter. I question myself. Have I trained my son to be vigilant enough so that he never becomes a victim of such depraved creatures? How will I know? I can only hope against all odds that I have. It just goes to show that no parent can take their child's safety for granted. We owe it to our children to educate them well on the dangers surrounding them and the tricks that paedophiles use to lure children. Tell them that they will have your full support if they ever do fall prey to the twisted minds of perverts no matter who they might be. As much as I wish I didn't have to teach my son about such a disturbing subject, but tonight, I'm so very glad I did.

Useful Links
Protecting Our Children--An online guide to inform parents about paedophilia and how to safeguard your children.
McGruff.org--Useful information on every aspect of child safety.

I can obviously understand your reaction to this information and I think your reaction is the best possible.

You're going to let the judicial system deal with the case because at the moment, this is an accusation and of course there's a possibility that it isn't true.

As for your other worries, such as was a background check performed? I think that's absolutely a valid question and unfortunately, we probably know the answer. Let's hope this case (whether it turns out the guy is guilty or not) is a wake up call for authorities to check people who work in such close contact with children. After all, failure to check lead to the tragic deaths of Holly & Jessica in the UK at the hands of their school caretaker.

As for your own son, I've no doubt in my mind that you've given him the knowledge and information that will mean he'll never be a victim. Obviously if the allegation is true then the same can't be said for the parents of the [i]'victim'[/i] if the abuse was going on for a month!

This whole topic sickens me to my stomach.




I am a survivor of sexual abuse and it has affected my whole life.It is strange to say "survivor" considering the fact that on a daily basis I am tortured with everything that this man did to me.I am in my 30's and I am seeking professional help and probably will be for the rest of my life.The sad part of this is that the abuser has never been punished for his acts and most likely won't.I think it is truly horrible that parents would even consider to have a meeting in the support of a man who has been accused of such an act.I am not saying he is guilty but police do not take people into custody without making sure they have enough evidence concerning this type of matter.That poor child that is involved must be going through so much right now and all they can think about is having a meeting in support of this man.This is so wrong,that child needs support right now.Let the authorities deal with the accused abuser.It seems today that in our society we tend to care more for animals than we do for our own innocent children.I hate to say this but most of these offenders go unpunished i.e probation,forced to get therapy and then years go by and they find out that yet another child has been harmed or killed.I think in these cases when they are found guilty they should be given the full extent that law allows for sentencing so that we may protect the one's that can not defend themselves against these predators !!!!

Oh gosh, this is scary news. Obviously, it IS just an accusation, and it is interesting that so many parents are willing to stick up for him.

Still, you can never be too careful when YOUR child is right there every day. It is the kind of thing that would have made me faint. Good thing I'm not a parent, I guess.

ellas...The man has been in custody for 2 days now so I'm guessing there were grounds for his arrest. Considering the length it takes for cases to get to court, it'll probably be years before a verdict is reached. And you are so right that parents shouldn't dismiss this incident but instead, use it as a wakeup call to further impress upon their children's minds to always be aware of their surroundings and to come to the parents if they are suspicious. It's better to be safe than sorry.
The child who was allegedly molested may have been of a different character...timid and quiet...a paedophile's perfect prey. If a child grows up in an extremely authoritarian environment, the chances of him/her ever revealing anything are much less than a child who is outspoken and social. I think I've done a good job with J but like I said, how would I know? A paedophile hones his sick skills 24-7. I feel like I'm always a step behind them whenever I read of a new lure that I hadn't even thought about.

zardoz...If I become anymore wary, I'll become a hermit and so will my son!

Anon...Paedophilia is the worst crime in the criminal code because it takes away a child's innocence and his/her trust forever. The scars aren't visible but they never heal properly I don't think. My heart goes out to the child and his parents. As much as I want to think it's a false charge, statistically speaking, children usually don't lie about such things. I hope the parents have the presence of mind to get the child into psychological counselling immediately to prevent further emotional damage.

mel...I thought it was weird too that so many parents were so quick to react with their protests of his innocence. I mean, what proof do they have either way? It really is up to the police and the judicial system. They'd do better to hold a meeting on child safety instead.

My god SeaWitch, that is so scary. I am going to talk to my son about this today. I wish with all my heart that I didn't have to but you reminded me again that there is a need to. Thank you for the links.

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