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Published in Print: December 16, 1998, as Series


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This series is the result of a six-month project by Education Week Associate Editor Caroline Hendrie and Deputy Managing Editor Steven Drummond.

The project involved scores of interviews with state and local education and law-enforcement officials, other experts, teachers, principals, parents, and victims, as well as an extensive review of court documents, journal articles, and public-policy records.

Since no concrete, national data exist on allegations of child sex abuse by school employees, the project was also based on searches through archives, wire service clippings, and computer databases of thousands of news articles from March through August of this year.

That research, with independent, follow-up reporting, led to the creation of a database of 244 cases that were active in either criminal or civil courts or being handled by school district investigators.

In addition, Education Week reporters surveyed officials from each of the 50 states on their laws and policies on sexual relations with students and the reporting of alleged abuse by school employees.

The newspaper's librarian, Kathryn Dorko, helped plan and conduct the research for the database, and Reporter/Researcher Adrienne D. Coles provided research assistance.

A Trust Betrayed: PART 1 Dec. 2, 1998

  • Cases of sexual misconduct with students by school employees reveal serious shortcomings throughout the education system.
  • Abuse by women raises its own set of problems.
  • Labels like "pedophile'' can't explain the many faces of abuse.
  • The tactics used on students by sexual predators follow troubling patterns. PART 2 Dec. 9, 1998
  • Failure to respond to misconduct allegations can lead to costly lawsuits, and to students' feeling twice victimized.
  • Lax policies often allow "mobile molesters'' to continue preying on students for years.
  • The fear of being falsely accused of abuse is a nagging one for educators.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court has changed the legal landscape on employee-student sexual abuse in schools. PART 3 Dec. 16, 1998
  • The education system sends mixed messages about sexual abuse of students, revealing a lack of national consensus on the issue.
  • For administrators, handling an abuse case is trying and often confusing.
  • In higher education, relationships between faculty members and students raise complex issues.

Vol. 18, Issue 16, Page 1&JPS

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