As I was writing the easter post, Mr. Nobody was reading a local rag that appears in our mailbox unbidden.
It’s mostly advertising, and since we don’t pay for it or ask for it, I don’t read it.
Lake Odessa is a small town just east of us. Total population, according to the 2010 census, is 2,018.
The Lakewood School district and it’s Board of Education hired Chad Curtis, a former Major League Baseball player, to teach and coach.
From 2011 to 2012, Mr. Curtis assaulted female students, while providing “training” massages. He would touch their breasts and genitals, then pray with them. The school principal, Brian Williams and the Asst. Principal, Bill Barker, witnessed Mr. Curtis in the closed room with a female student on at least one occasion each, and did nothing. They apparently saw nothing wrong at all with a grown man being alone in a locked room with 15 and 16 year old girls.
Even after the allegations were made and after Mr. Curtis was arrested, they continued to express their belief that Mr. Curtis did nothing wrong. In emails.
Mr. Curtis had a good local attorney. The trial went for a week. Five Jane Does testified at his trial. It took the jury two and a half hours to convict Mr. Curtis.
The judge, Amy McDowell, called him a predator and said no community would be safe with him in it. Mr. Curtis never took the stand. At his sentencing, though, he took the opportunity to suggest that those five very brave girls were liars.
He has been denied appeals.
“The Lakewood board of education, at its Dec. 9, 2013 meeting, directed Superintendent Mike O’Mara to produce a report regarding the criminal events that took place at the high school. After a two-week extension, O’Mara presented the report to the board at its Feb. 24 workshop, ” according to the story, written by Julie Makarewicz, and it basically just asked if all policies were followed in the employment of Mr. Curtis and in the treatment of his victims.
The board vice president, Jeff Gibbs, and board Treasurer, Gary Foltz, made a motion to accept the report. During discussion, Frank Pytlowany wondered why there was no discussion of the report, as is usual.
Board president, Barry Vezino, wondered what else needed to be done, other than to accept the report and go ahead and implement the changes.
Mr. Pytlowany wondered how the report might affect the board once it had been voted on, since the school district is being sued by the victims.
So the report got tabled. Unanimous agreement around that. The board then went into closed session.
Lots of wondering going on in that board. And, notice the names. Are there no women in Lake Odessa? (There is actually one woman by the name of Denise Parks on the board, but she is never mentioned in the article.)
Oh, and since the incident, that board has gone on a tear to make sure no other students are ever violated again. You know what they did?
They installed a window on the door in the training room.
Now the district is being sued in federal court, alleging that Lakewood Public Schools, the board of education and so far unnamed administrators didn’t protect the girls from abuse, or from the harassment they suffered after reporting the abuse.
The suit claims that Mr. Curtis was viewed as a celebrity in the district and portrayed himself as a “Christian man of deep faith and morality.”
“Lakewood schools received no less than 28 complaints from the victims and their family members about the hostile environment” and did nothing to stop it.
According to the story, “In fact, the victims were reportedly told they were being ‘overly sensitive’ and ‘you need thicker skin’ among other similar comments.”
The girls were “reportedly called names, threatened, bullied and harassed at both on and off school events, shunned and bullied in person and through electronic means.”
Doesn’t Lake Odessa sound like a great place to live? Can you imagine what these girls have gone through?
Sounds to me like Principal Brian Williams and Assistant Principal Bill Barker had a bit of a man crush on Chad Curtis. Sounds like they enabled this lying, disgusting fucking douche bag to prey on students and now they are going to be called to account. Oh, how I wish I could be on that jury! Because those “victims” have asked for a jury trial and they’ve asked for millions of dollars and I hope, fervently, that they get every penny.
Pedophiles groom their victims. They become friendly and work to manipulate their targets so that they can do their deeds without being caught.
By harassing the victims after they spoke up, the grooming continued, didn’t it? Weren’t these girls being told that their bodies aren’t their own? That they should stay quiet about a high status male abusing them? Because, after all, shouldn’t they be flattered that this christian man found them so attractive he just couldn’t help himself?
Did the whole town participate in the grooming?
At least these girls have parents that believed them. At least these girls had that; parents willing to do what it took to protect their kids.
If these victims had been male, like Jerry Sandusky’s, would the reaction of the school board have been different?
After reading the article, I did a little searching. Wikipedia’s entry on Chad Curtis is instructive. The majority of the entry is with his baseball career. There is a small box about his personal life. Then a box called “Legal Problems.” Isn’t that great? Being convicted of six counts of criminal sexual misconduct is a legal problem, kinda like a DUI or a tax audit.
Kudos to Julie Makarewicz and Bonnie Mattson for the article. It’s one of those articles you start to read, and by the time you get to the end, you think, wait, what did I just see? And you go back to the beginning and read it again, just to be sure you did read it correctly.
Brilliant use of the absolutely clueless male names making clueless decisions that affect the next generation and how the entire system utterly failed to protect their young charges.
And it appears, they are still utterly incompetent, if not criminally negligent.