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January 24, 2007

Sexual Predators Get Free Reign in Public School

Another reason to homeschool.

An estimated 5 million students in United States schools have been assaulted sexually by teachers, according to a congressional report. But no one is calling for investigations or law enforcement crackdowns, there have been no campaigns to ban the offenders from schools, and in many states there aren't even any requirements such predator attacks be reported to education licensing agencies.

"We have approximately 5 million children suffering and no one is calling for an investigation, for any kind of data to be collected to find out why that many children are being hurt by teachers," said Terri Miller, who runs probably the only organization in the nation that focuses specifically on assaults by educators on students. "This is an epidemic."

In fact, in many cases, especially where the attacker is a woman and the student a male, such assaults are treated as a joke, with a hand-slap for the teacher, and some ribald locker room humor directed at the student.

WND has documented in recent months an alarming string of dozens of cases of female teacher-on-male student sexual assaults, but those are just part of the overall problem, Miller said.

Her volunteer group, called Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation, often feels overwhelmed by the dearth of information, injuries to students, and obstacles posed by opponents such as the National Education Association.

If the government's going to insist on pubic education, it must insist on safety in its facilities. But clearly that has not been a winning battle, neither regarding weapons & drugs nor sexually & psychologically speaking.

Posted by Doug at January 24, 2007 02:20 PM

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Hold the phone! An estimated 5 million students in the US public school system have been sexually assaulted by their teachers?!

I smell World Net Daily reporting.

According to the census, there appears to be only ~50 million kids in elementary and secondary education in the US.

That's counting private schools, which account for nearly 10 million!

Are you saying you really believe that one in eight students are being sexually assaulted by a teacher?! Really?

Look at the numbers and do the math. You've been Worldnetted, dude.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at January 24, 2007 03:53 PM

I thought that would be brought up, because it seemed kinda high to me, too. However, before posting this I noted that on the S.E.S.A.M.E.'s Research page, they have this quote:

"The best estimate is that 15% of students will be sexually abused by a member of the school staff during their school career." (Shakeshaft, Ph.D., Hofstra University: Testimony, NYS Senate Commitee On Children & Families, 2/12/98)

That same source is used as well for backing statistics at Darkness to Light, an organization that deal with child sexual abuse in general.

Details on Dr. Charol Shakeshaft, the person who is quoted, can be found here and here.

15% of 50, or even 40, million is more than 5 million, so even saying 5 may be understating things. I did note that the quote talks about being sexually harassed during "their school career", so this is not a per annum number. But if the 15% number is right, then there might be at any one time 5 million in school right now for whom this is true.

So yes, I did the math, and I'm comfortable with the sources.

Another thing to consider is the ever-expanding definition of what sexual harassment is. Second graders pulling pig tails has been labeled that, so it depends on the practical definition of it was in 1998, when the quote was made. If it's some overly PC definition, then yes, the number of actual sexual harassments is likely lower.

How much lower is subject to debate, and subject to how much this PC psychology has invaded the schools, and, unfortunately, how much the "sexual freedom" ideas have invaded our culture. The number of reported cases keeps rising, with little reason to think anything will be done about it soon.

And even if we're off by a factor of 10, it's still a great reason to homeschool.

Posted by: Doug Payton at January 24, 2007 05:49 PM

Even if the 5 million estimate is high, it's still a growing problem that government officials are ignoring. Check out this site and scroll through the list of stories and see how many of them involve teachers having sex with students. It's a huge problem that is being ignored.

Posted by: Tom at January 24, 2007 05:55 PM

The WND story does not say "harrassed," it says "assaulted sexually":

"An estimated 5 million students in United States schools have been assaulted sexually by teachers"

I'm certain that 5 million students are not assaulted in our public schools by their teachers. That's WND reporting and I don't believe it.

I don't think that 15%, or even 10% of students at schools are even harassed by their teachers. My son goes to a high school with 100 students. Ten of them have not been harassed by teachers. We'd have heard about it. And they certainly have not been assaulted. That's ridiculous.

You'd have to find something much more serious than WND and these other orgs that I have not heard of to get me to even begin to believe it. It is much easier to see that this is another WND hatchet job on truth.

I'm all for stopping child abuse of any sort. But hatchet jobs by right wing "news" groups like this are meant to attack public schools, not the serious problem of child abuse.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at January 24, 2007 11:09 PM

Further, I'd think that, as an honest person who doesn't want to pass on bad information - even if it helps your position - that you'd remove this post if you can't find support for such an outrageous claim, or at the least, post a very large disclaimer.

I would say the same to a pro-peace person who ran a story that said, "War in Iraq is killing hundreds of thousands of babies a day," if that story wasn't true.

Bearing false witness does damage to one's case and testimony. WND has not proven itself to be a trustworthy source and this story is just another example of that.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at January 25, 2007 08:57 AM

Actually, though I said the quote was "harassed", Dr. Shakeshaft actually said "abused". That's my mistake. The difference between the word she used, "abused", and the one used by Terri Miller, "assaulted", is much closer than the word "harassed" that I used, and "abused" is a stronger term. The difference between the two is a lot smaller, and depending on the speaker, could be synonymous. At least it's not enough in my book to warrant some kind of retraction.

That's a problem I brought on. Dan, your contribution is one of a statistical nature. Saying that since 10 of the 100 students in one particular school haven't been abused, in a sea of 50 million, doesn't speak at all to the veracity of the claim, and I'm sure you know that. The irony is, you're specifically arguing statistics. It doesn't even take into account how things are hidden more in a school of 4000 than in one of 100.

Dr. Shakeshaft's credentials are something I think neither of us are experts in. She's done research in this area, recently for the Dept. of Education, so unless there's some criticism of that work, I don't see discounting her statistic out of hand. The organizations that you, nor I, have heard of before this article are simply quoting her.

So what we're left with is:

I'm certain that 5 million students are not assaulted in our public schools by their teachers. That's WND reporting and I don't believe it.

Your certainty isn't enough for a retraction or a disclaimer. I will admit having been burned by WND once or twice in the past, hence I did some homework on this prior to posting it.

Posted by: Doug Payton at January 25, 2007 03:09 PM

Well, of course, I can't prove a negative. There are no studies out there that say, "No, 5 million students haven't been sexually assaulted by their teachers."

Nonetheless, it is on its face such a ridiculous number that no one could be expected to believe it and I'd hope that you would change your mind.

Tell you what, find any school - any school in the whole of the United States - where 10 out of 100 students have been sexually assaulted by teachers and I'll back off.

You won't be able to find it because it is a fairy tale.

Believe me, this is wrong.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at January 25, 2007 03:20 PM

And the best evidence I have for proving this negative is the complete and total lack of evidence. Don't you think that if this figure was anywhere near accurate, that at least ONE school where ten percent of the students had been sexually assaulted by their teachers would have turned up and been in the news?

Your source for 101 reasons to homeschool your children didn't list anything remotely resembling that. Just think about it...

Posted by: Dan Trabue at January 25, 2007 05:33 PM

To Dan, even if these numbers are double what they really are (which I do not think is the case), we are still talking about 2.5 million kids. It is still a huge problem.

Thank you Doug, for bringing it to light.

One more reason I am glad we home school.

Posted by: Phil at January 25, 2007 06:03 PM

"Thank you Doug, for bringing it to light."

AAAAHHHH!! He didn't bring anything to light! It's a bogus report by a bogus "news" agency designed to cater to people who won't think about the nutty and unfounded claims they make!

And for the record, I'm not soley a defender of public schools - they have issues (although my kids are in public schools). And I'm sympathetic to home-schooling. It's a legitimate option and there are reasons to do it.

But not because your child will be eaten by wolves if they attend public school!

(I can see it now. WND will get wind of this blog and see my post above and the headline tomorrow? "Authorities say children are being 'Eaten by Wolves' in public schools!")

Posted by: Dan Trabue at January 25, 2007 11:18 PM

More evidence from the horse's...mouth:

According to WND:

They have an "exhaustive" list of teachers engaging in inappropriate
sexual activity (not always assault) that have appeared in the news.
Their count? 57 incidents.

According to the census bureau:

There are 6.2 million teachers in the US - that's all teachers, I
assume that means private and maybe even college. (One source I found
said 2.95 public school teachers, that sounds about right.)

There are ~50 million students in public school.

1. So, if we round up the number of sexual incidents reported in the
paper to 100, and divide by the 50 million students in school, that
means .0002% of students have had sexual incidents involving teachers.
Horrible, to be sure, but not the five million epidemic that was

2. Looking at it another way, if 5 million students have been sexually
assaulted in school by a teacher, that means each teacher has assaulted
a student! Or, assuming the bad teachers have been very bad and
sexually assaulted 5 students each, that means one in five teachers is
sexually assaulting students.

I'm sorry for going on about this, but this is so far beyond the pale
that it's galling.

It's not okay to bear false witness. That's why it's one of the

If I make a public comment that one in five preachers is having sex
with animals, that would be an outrageous lie. Is it possible that this
is happening with some incredibly small % of preachers and is therefore
a "problem"? Sure. Does that mean that it's okay for me to spread a
bald-faced lie?


This WND story is a bald-faced lie. And you've repeated it.

People like Phil are believing it and may well repeat it himself. He
may tell it to his home-schooled children who will grow up thinking
this is the way public schools are.

Please, in the name of Jesus, reconsider this.

Posted by: Dan Trabue at January 26, 2007 10:20 AM

Dan, I appreciate your point and the further math. A couple things:

* Sexual predators rarely, if ever, have one and only one target their whole lives. This article on sex offenders has this to say about pedophiles.

Offenders who seek out children to victimize by placing themselves in positions of trust, authority, and easy access to youngsters can have hundreds of victims over the course of their lifetimes. One study found that the average number of victims for non-incestuous pedophiles who molest girls is 20; for pedophiles who prefer boys, over 100.

While the teachers who've made the news may or may not be technically pedophiles, the number of victims per offender can be quite large. 5 isn't "very bad", it's way below average. This changes your equation by 1 or 2 orders of magnitude.

* I have to say again, the statistic you have the problem with was made by Dr. Charol Shakeshaft, someone who's is considered an expert in the field. It was made 9 years ago. It was not invented yesterday by a news web site that you have issues with. If there is some issue with her, her methods or her analysis, or if you have studies that contradict hers, I'm open to it. In the meantime, you're shooting the messenger, over and over, and using math with your own assumptions.

I appreciate your concern over this. I have the same issue when folks count as homeless those who own their own home but have less that 2 months house payment in the bank. And frankly, as I've said, 5 million does seem kinda high to me as well. The question is, how far off is it? If it's really 4 million, I wouldn't feel the need to retract or apologize. According to Shakeshaft, it's the best estimate they had in '98, and the news stories (of those the public is aware of) just keep getting more and more frequent.

I hope it's wrong. I fear it's not.

Posted by: Doug Payton at January 26, 2007 11:04 AM

No Dan, the reason why I believe it to be true is from my own experience. When my oldest Daughter was in the public school system, her last grade in the public school was the second grade. She was placed in trouble two times for her speaking to like minded friends about how glad they were to be Christians, teachers on two separate occasions scolded and placed them in trouble for having those discussions. At the same time in the same school my daughter was sexually harassed by other students, Making sexual comments, and grabbing her (A SEVEN YEAR OLD) in in-appropriate places. When this was brought to the attention of the officials in the school. It was DIS-MISSED as and I quote "kids will be kids".

So why on earth would I have any reason not to believe what Doug is pointing out. My own experience tells me it is entirely possible, if teachers will allow kids to sexually harass other kids, and yell at them for speaking to fellow Christian kids about their religion, then what is that same person doing behind closed doors to a trusting child when no one else is looking.

Due to the above instances and others I care not to mention I have totally lost faith in the public school system, and you are right I will make sure that ever person that will listen will see the importance of home school or other alternatives to public school.

Posted by: Phil at January 26, 2007 01:34 PM

Who knows what the number is? If it is 500,000 it is alarming and needs to be brought to a screeching halt. I know that in Lumberton, Texas a male French Teacher/Coach named Orville Dombrosky was just arrested for sexual assault/harrassment (not sure what the charge was) on a high school girl. My daughter said that NUMEROUS girls talked about sexual advances and comments he made toward them and said that complaints had been previously made and no one at the school did anything about it. When my own daughter told me of things he said to her and other girls I was shocked that she had not told me maybe the number is higher than we think. The NEA is the most liberal union in the nation - it is no surprise that they are thumbing their arrogant noses at this statistic. I'm ready to start a website for all these students to feed information too - it's obvious that administrators are dismissing these reports to protect their own decisions.

Posted by: Brenda at February 15, 2007 04:58 PM

To all who read Brenda's post I would like to apologize for her ignorance. Orvie Dombrosky is my uncle and the Grand Jury no billed the accusations that were brought against him.

It seems odd to me that if "Numerous girls talked about the sexual advances and comments he made toward them and said that complaints had been previously made and no one at the school did anything about it" the Grand Jury would no bill it.

I will be sure to send my uncle this link so that he can get with his lawyer and see what kind of legal action can be taken against Brenda and this site for the public slander of his name.

Posted by: Josh Dombrosky at August 29, 2007 02:16 PM

For the record, here are two stories about the no-bill that the grand jury returned yesterday:

The Beaumont Enterprise


From the KFDM article:
KFDM News has learned a Hardin County grand jury no billed a high school teacher who was charged with a felony crime involving a female student. That means the case will not go to trial.

Orville Dombrosky had been charged with improper relationship between educator and student.

The charge was a second degree felony, and could have meant up to 20 years in prison.

Hardin County District Attorney Henry Coe tells KFDM News the grand jury didn't indict the teacher because of conflicting statements from witnesses.

Mr. Dombrosky has been cleared of all charges.

Posted by: Doug Payton at August 30, 2007 08:59 AM

I have known Orville Dombrosky for more than 20 years, and I am so glad that the truth has come out regarding the complaint made against him. Orvie is a man of God, and his integrity is beyond reproach.

Unfortunately, we are in a society that is willing to destroy one's reputation in "the search for truth." Young people today know that the easiest way to get rid of a teacher/authority figure they dislike is through an accusation of abuse (sexual or otherwise). Even if the adult is exonerated, their reputation (and possibly their career) is damaged, often beyond repair.

I am not insinuating that all accusers are vindictive, nor am I suggesting that all accused are innocent. What I AM suggesting is that perhaps we need to take a step back and consider all possibilities.

I, too, am a homeschooler. I am also a former teacher, and I've seen how many kids know how to work the system to their advantage.

Abuse, sexual or otherwise, is a horrific thing, but so is malice and a vindictive spirit.

Posted by: gina at September 22, 2007 04:44 PM