After-School Program Nightmare

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

When my children were young, they went to an after-school program offered by the county office of education. I naively assumed they were in safe hands and thankfully my children were in safe hands.

Knowing what I know now—parents can’t be naive, they need to be proactive and they need to be involved.

What follows is a perfect example of why open communication between children and parents (or grandparents) and keen observation are absolutely necessary in today’s world.

BLOG POST #50: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving an after-school program staff member.

The local police department was alerted to an 11-year old boy who had produced child pornography for an adult male in another city. The boy and the man communicated through Instagram. FBI agents promptly obtained a search warrant for the man’s computer.

During the search, FBI agents found hundreds of child pornography images and videos on his laptop and cell phone. The man admitted to an inappropriate relationship with the 11-year old in addition to having sexual contact with a 14-year old boy and other children he met through the after-school program where he worked. He had also worked at a summer camp and volunteered at a community center where he mentored youths.

Even though he admitted to inappropriate behavior, he pleaded not guilty and was tried on several counts relating to child pornography production and distribution. At the age of 23, he was found guilty of producing, receiving, distributing, and possessing child pornography. Sentenced to more than 17 years with 10-years of supervised released.

At the sentencing, the U.S. Attorney said: “ He preyed on the most innocent and vulnerable in our community.”

He’s schedule to be released in the 2029, he’ll be 37.

What steps can parents take to help them feel confident their children are in safe hands at school and at after-school programs?

Here’s a great resource from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for parents and schools who want to help their children be even safer at school: School Safety Info

What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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