What happens when a teacher is charged with child pornography possession? How about child pornography creation? And what if the pornography in question is created inside the school itself? Prince's George County Public Schools, a Maryland school district situated close to the Washington D.C. border, is currently in the midst of answering all three of those questions. According to a news report from NBC Washington, a volunteer and youth choir director with the school district is currently facing charges for molesting "as many as 17 students." He is also facing child pornography charges, for directing or forcing students to engage in sexual acts with one another. Many of these offenses took place at school, during school hours. The volunteer in question is a 22-year-old male.
An earlier NBC Washington report stated that the suspect created "about 40 videos" depicting sexual actions of 10 students. Since the suspect was a volunteer teacher's assistance at an elementary school, all of the victims were quite young—between the ages of nine and 13. Since that earlier report, it appears that authorities found evidence of the suspect having violated additional victims.
We have seen a sadly large number of cases in recent years where teachers, bus drivers, or other school workers were charged with child pornography possession. However, this case goes to the next level because much of it took place on school property, under the watch of teachers and administrators. How was a 22-year-old volunteer able to repeatedly molest students during the school day? How was he able to slip into a bathroom to force children to perform sex acts on one another without anyone noticing? Why was there no accountability here?
The local school board will look to answer these questions and others in the coming weeks, with the goal of establishing new policies to prevent something like this incident from happening again in the future. Specifically, the board will look at the policy that allows volunteers to be alone and unsupervised with students while at school. The NBC Washington report also indicates that discussions about volunteer background checks and "protocol for reporting abuse within schools" are also on the docket for discussion.
At very least, the suspect did go through a background check before the district hired him in 2014. The background check came back clean. However, most schools do have policies in place that prevent volunteers from being alone with children during school hours. An enforcement of such a policy here may have helped avoid most or all of the horrific incidents that took place.