April 30, 2006

Mazzaglia: An epidemic of school sex abuse

MetroWest Daily News

By Frank Mazzaglia/ Local View
Sunday, April 30, 2006

Did you know that in 1998, there were 103,600 specific cases of sexual abuse against children reported to the Department of Justice? What made these incidents even more startling was they took place in the public schools!

That was the same year reporters were just beginning to piece together the story of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church. The difference between prosecuting the Catholic Church rather than the schools was money. To date, the Catholic Church has paid out an estimated $1 billion to settle abuse claims. Investigative reporters were spurred on by information provided by the trial lawyers taking on the church. On the other hand, there wasn’t much to be gained by suing schools. So much for really caring about the kids!

Carol Shakeshaft, the researcher who prepared a draft report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, said the actual number of abuse cases in public schools could be much higher. Comparing survey data collected by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in 2000, Shakeshaft estimated that roughly 290,000 students experience some kind of physical sexual abuse by school employees. The magnitude of those numbers led Shakeshaft to contend that "the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."

Posted by kshaw at April 30, 2006 07:05 AM