Sunday, June 04, 2017

Mandatory Reporting Law on Sexual Abuse Not So Mandatory -- Especially for Prep Schools / Abysmal Failures Noted on So-Called Background Checks




State Reports Only 14 Arrests & Four Convictions in Past Seven Years
Statute of Limitations Just One Year for This Misdemeanor








By Andy Thibault
The Cool Justice Report
http://cooljustice.blogspot.com/
June 4, 2017









Editor's Note: This column may be reprinted or re-posted courtesy of The Cool Justice Report http://cooljustice.blogspot.com.

Connecticut has been a very safe place to avoid arrest and prosecution for failing to report sexual abuse -- especially if you're a teacher or administrator at a prep school.

That's just part of the picture.

Suppose you lose your teaching job after being accused of rape. Just don't put that job on your resume. You'll be fine for perhaps a decade or more. It also helps to amend your full name on the resume. Supposed background checks will fail to detect resume gaps and irregularities.

But what about that mandatory reporting law compelling teachers and administrators to report suspected abuse to the state? No problem. It hasn't been enforced with any great enthusiasm at the preps: No report, no warning for future employers or victims.

The revelations come after a series of articles by The Boston Globe Spotlight Team and an investigation by the powerhouse law firm Covington & Burling for Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford. The Globe found that abuse victims routinely suffered retaliation at private schools in New England. The schools in turn covered up the abuse. Choate, for example, failed to report abuse incidents prior to 2010.

A spokeswoman for Connecticut courts told The Cool Justice Report there were just 14 arrests in the state for failing to report sexual abuse from January 2010 through late April 2017. During the same time, there were only four convictions, according to the data provided via the state Judicial Department. One of the convictions was of a day care operator. No additional data was available immediately.

There is only a one-year statute of limitations for failure to report sexual abuse claims, and that crime is a misdemeanor. Connecticut Deputy Chief State's Attorney Len Boyle said in a statement there are no plans to try to change that, but he noted there is a five-year statute of limitations for a felony charge if prosecutors are able to cite willfulness or other aggravating factors. Willfulness, like intent, carries with it a significant burden of proof.

"The one-year statute of limitations," Boyle said, "is largely consistent with the limitations periods for all crimes (i.e.: one year for a misdemeanor and five years for a felony). We have not sought to lengthen it. The more egregious cases of failure to report (willfulness, gross negligence, etc.) are felonies and provide a five year limitations period."

Boyle's office is investigating whether anyone at Choate broke the law by failing to report suspected abuse, The Hartford Courant reported in April.

Among the 12 teachers accused of abuse in the Choate report, one went on to become a teacher and administrator at several public schools in Connecticut. He was able to avoid detection partly by amending his name and omitting two teaching jobs at private schools -- Choate and The Gunnery, in Washington, CT -- on his resume. The resume, obtained under Connecticut's Freedom of Information law, also shows some overlap for jobs at public schools in Connecticut and New York.

This teacher / administrator, Jaime E. Rivera, aka Jaime Rivera-Murillo, resigned as principal of Wamogo High School in Litchfield in April. Before that, he was a teacher and assistant principal at Newtown High School for about 11 years. The first teaching job listed on his resume was at Henry Abbot Technical High School in Danbury, beginning in 2001. That leaves a seven-year gap following his graduation from St. Michael's College in Vermont, where he reported earning a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language.

The Covington & Burling report says Rivera-Murillo was fired after being accused of anally raping one student and grabbing the breast of another during a Choate field trip to Costa Rica in 1999. Rivera, a faculty leader for the trip, denied engaging in sexual misconduct but admitting drinking alcohol including beer with students and "local moonshine" with others.

Choate did not report the alleged assaults at the time as required by law. The alleged rape victim told the Covington & Burling team that a female administrator admonished students not to discuss what happened.

The process for vetting resumes at Connecticut public schools like Wamogo and Newtown high schools and Abbot Tech seems to be check the boxes and wave the guy through with barely a pretense of scrutiny. This abysmal failure of diligence and critical thinking should be alarming to students, parents and all taxpayers.

"He didn't list Choate as a former employer when he applied," Christine Chinni, the lawyer for Regional District 6 which includes Wamogo, told The Boston Globe.

District 6 Superintendent Edward Drapp, asked about the committee of 12 that reviewed Rivera-Murillo's credentials and the review process, declined to discuss his procedures for background checks. Besides the resume, which he produced after a formal FOI request, Drapp was also asked to provide documents related to that review committee. Here is Drapp's response: "Attached is a copy of Mr. Rivera's resume. This is the only document in the district's possession that meets the criteria of your FOI request. For the remainder of the school year I will be focused on the students and therefore I am not doing any additional interviews or making any other statements on this matter."

Drapp's response sounds like the result of bad coaching from an inept lawyer. The assertion that there are no documents regarding the review committee is not credible. Are we to believe the review committee never had a meeting?

The Globe reported in April that the sexual misconduct at Choate occurred from 1963 to 2010 and ranged from intimate kissing to groping and sexual intercourse. The Covington & Burling report cites 12 teachers. Other Globe stories cited more than 100 private schools in New England with more than 300 former students saying they faced sexual abuse or harassment.

Just last month, The Kent School was sued and accused of failing to report a 49-year-old teacher who had sex with a 15-year-old student in the late 1980s.

The student claims her advisor scolded her for spreading vicious rumors. Another teacher allegedly told the student she was a sinner for committing adultery. The suit claims the abuse was widely known at the school and that the student was shunned, called "obviously crazy" and blamed for the teacher's breakdown. During a church service the student attended at the school, the suit asserts, Kent staff openly prayed for the teacher's well being. The teacher subsequently got a job at a private school in Indiana.

Kent School, founded in 1906, charges more than $60,000 annually for tuition, board and fees.

Rev. Richardson Schell, the headmaster, said in a statement: "We do not know why [the student] has elected to pursue a lawsuit at this time."

Schell opened the statement by saying he had reviewed the complaint: " ... I am deeply sorry for the wrongful actions of the former Kent teacher who engaged in an inappropriate relationship with this former student ... as the Headmaster of the school then, I responded immediately and to the best of my ability."

The statement does not address the school's duty to report the alleged abuse in a timely manner.

Notably, Schell undertook a massive letter writing campaign some years later when he was annoyed by what he called a TV sitcom's "obnoxious, objectionable content." His letter writing campaign netted responses from 17 companies and he also reached out to publications including Advertising Age and Media Week to generate publicity regarding his concerns about popular culture, The New York Times reported.

Finally, on the national front, The Associated Press reported that a former president of Penn State and two other former university administrators were each sentenced Friday to at least two months in jail for failing to alert authorities to a 2001 allegation against ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, a decision that enabled the now-convicted serial predator to continue molesting boys.

Thibault, a private investigator for the Hartford office of Integrated Security Services http://www.intesecurity.com/, is the author of a second collection of newspaper columns, “more COOL JUSTICE” http://morecooljustice.com/, credited with helping to free a woman unjustly convicted of first degree murder. His public service includes four years on a local board of education. Follow him on Twitter @cooljustice.









  • The Choate Report










  • Short version of column
    Via Hearst CT dailies


  • Danbury News Times


  • Connecticut Post


  • Norwalk Hour


  • Greenwich Time


  • Stamford Advocate







  • more COOL JUSTICE






  • Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    Airing on U.S. TV: Canadian #TrueCrime Documentary Series Features #CT #WoodChipper Case Among Others That Inspired Hollywood Thrillers


    Editor's Note, 6-17-17: A power outage zapped the servers for The REELZ Channel Friday night. Fargo and Foxcatcher will be rescheduled, a spokesman said.



  • Video Preview 2 -- A Chainsaw in Lake Zoar -- Fargo: The Shocking Truth

  • Video Preview 3: Late PI Keith Mayo …

  • --
    Via Radar ONLINE:

  • 'The Shocking Truth' Reveals 'Wood Chipper' Murderer CAUGHT In String Of Lies!


  • Why would someone be out in a storm with a wood-chipper on the side of the road?

    How did Connecticut state police get a murder conviction without a body?

    Shocking Truth [Fargo - Crafts / wood chipper case] Provides the Answers June 16 on REELZ

    Series Premiered May 21 w/ Goodfellas; Up Next: Exorcist & Amityville Horror

  • BACKGROUND


  • REELZ



  • WFSB: Woodchipper murder case from 30 years ago was pivotal for forensic scientists




  • Complete Schedule



    (Goodfellas) Sunday, 5/21 at 9:00pm ET



    (Jaws) Sunday, 5/21 at 9:30pm ET



    (Exorcist) Friday, 5/26 at 9:00pm ET



    (Amityville Horror) Friday, 5/26 at 9:30pm ET

    (Conjuring) Friday, 6/2 at 9:00pm ET

    (Silence/Lambs) Friday, 6/2 at 9:30pm ET

    (Psycho) Friday, 6/9 at 9:00pm ET

    (Zodiac) Friday, 6/9 at 9:30pm ET


    During one of The Shocking Truth road trips through the US, a crew drove 1245 km conducting interviews in WI, IL, PA, NY, CT and MA. Dr. Henry Lee was interviewed for his crucial role in the infamous wood chipper murder.

    (Fargo) Friday, 6/16 at 9:00pm ET

    (Foxcatcher) Friday, 6/16 at 9:30pm ET

    (Natural Born…) Friday, 6/23 at 9:00pm ET

    (Monster) Friday, 6/23 at 9:30pm ET


    Friday, May 12, 2017

    Reprise: Ongoing Cover-Up in Badaracco Homicide, Dog Killers, RFK 2nd Shooter & Many Other Matters in the Public Interest


  • Complete list of SPJ winners


  • 'Therefore whatever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which you have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed on the housetops.'
    - Luke 12:3







    Finalists,
    CT SPJ Contest, 2016


  • Complete list


  • Annual dinner


  • Dinner highlight:
  • Diane Smith and Maureen Croteau to be inducted into Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame



  • Partial List of Finalists

    Courts/Crime
    Regional B




    Hartford won’t indemnify cops in killing of child’s dog; Officers’ personal assets attached; CTNewsJunkie; Andy Thibault
  • Complete article


  • Crime levels are surging in Plainfield; Norwich Bulletin; John Penney

    'Problem pockets' worry residents; Stamford Advocate; Nelson Oliveira, John Nickerson

    Lawyers have personal, professional reasons to help Community Speaks Out fight opioid crisis; The Day; Karen Florin

    Bones, tissue, teeth: Small details help investigators identify remains; The Day; Lindsay Boyle

    General Column
    Regional B




    Andy Thibault Cool Justice: Pretend investigations the norm in Badaracco homicide for 32 years; Litchfield County Times; Andy Thibault

  • Complete Article




  • Andy Thibault Cool Justice: Important questions about a homicide are ignored or deflected; Litchfield County Times;

  • Complete Article




  • Cool Justice: How judges and prosecutors circle the wagons to shaft public, protect themselves; Litchfield County Times;

  • Complete Article



  • Rabbi a man for all seasons, all people; News-Times; Brian Koonz

    Why would women vote for a misogynist? ; News-Times; Jacqueline Smith

    High noon in the wild west town of Bethel; News-Times; Jeff Gewert

    Police drug testing not a routine thing; Norwich Bulletin; Brendan Cox

    MPD secrecy standard procedure; Record-Journal; Eric Cotton

    Judge’s ruling says state must re-invent town-by-town system of schools; Record-Journal; Glenn Richter

    We’ve just made the wrong person president; Record-Journal; Glenn Richter

    Football is great, but is it worth the health risks? ; Record-Journal; Jeffery Kurz

    Coping with President Trump; Stamford Advocate; Jeff Gewert

    Biggest little fan meets Moriah; The Chronicle; Jennifer Lemanski

    The Coast Guard museum has no parking plan; The Day; David Collins

    Why was seizure-prone Sen. Maynard driving? ; The Day; David Collins

    In-Depth
    Regional B

    No place to play in western Greenwich; Greenwich Time; Emilie Munson





    Cool Justice: RFK Jr. points to forensic evidence of second gunman in his father’s assassination; Litchfield County Times; Andy Thibault

  • Complete Article




  • Year after Nina Coe’s disappearance from Middletown, family pleads for answers; Middletown Press; Cassandra Day

    Plight of low-wage workers worsens; News-Times; Rob Ryser

    Hihchey, Bilda went on $340,000 trip; Norwich Bulletin; Ryan Blessing

    Over decade, many NPU salaries jump 40%; Norwich Bulletin; Ryan Blessing

    Family devastated by loss of ‘hero’ mom killed in Meriden hit-and-run; Record-Journal; Leigh Tauss

    Pedestrians, bicyclists prohibited from accessing new trail through Wallingford condo complex; Record-Journal; Leigh Tauss

    Man who shot at Meriden mosque comes full circle as prison term approaches; Record-Journal; Mike Savino

    We were children, I wasn't the only victim; Stamford Advocate; Amanda Cuda

    Stamford's surging development demolishes old homes; Stamford Advocate; Liz Skalka

    Damning report details DCF failure in near-starvation of Groton toddler; The Day; Deborah Straszheim

    Navy gets under sailors’ skin; The Day; Julia Bergman

    Norwalk works to keep Millennials coming; The Hour; Kaitlyn Krasselt, Robert Koch







  • more COOL JUSTICE







  • Tuesday, May 02, 2017

    #Stalking & Critical Thinking on Law & Justice; Erin Moriarty Presents at University of St. Joseph – BOB THIESFIELD Photo Gallery


    OK To Reprint, Repost
    w/ Credit to Bob Thiesfield, The Cool Justice Report


    USJ President Rhona Free w/ CBS '48 Hours' Correspondent Erin Moriarty

  • 38-second video recap





  • BACKGROUND



  • Warm Welcome From Crowd at the University's Crystal Room, Mercy Hall


    Moriarty Noted Connecticut's Stalking Law - Relying on Demonstration of Reckless Behavior - Is More Effective Than Those of Other States Which Require Proof of Intent by Often-Disturbed Stalkers


    Attentive Audience


    The Interactive Event Featured Dialogue w/ Students


    'NCIS' Star Pauley Perrette Shared Her Stalking Torment and Supported Others in '48 Hours' Broadcast Earlier This Year


    Before the Event, Moriarty Met w/ Students Including Erin Castaldi (left), a Veteran Who Is Studying To Be a Social Worker







  • USJ: Look for more exciting speakers in the fall