Parents complain their first-grade students sexually assaulted

AUBURN — Parents who complained that not enough
was done to protect their two first-graders from sexual assault by another
student met with the Auburn School Committee on Wednesday night.

The closed-door meeting was called to
look into parents' concerns about steps the school took, or didn't take,
to keep students safe.

Meanwhile, educators from Advocates for Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse,
are teaching sexual abuse prevention to first- and second-graders at
Sherwood Heights. Advocates for Children provides the service every
year, but the agency is acting "in part in response to this
incident," Executive Director Betsy Norcross Plourde said Wednesday.

The
issue came to light on Oct. 7 when a mother
spoke to the Auburn School Committee about the safety of her son and
others at Sherwood Heights.

"On Sept. 17 my 6-year-old son, who
is in first grade, was sexually assaulted by a fellow classmate in the
boys' bathroom," the woman said through tears.

Three weeks later she said, "I don't believe that the representatives of the
Auburn School Department and Sherwood Heights have sufficiently
provided a safe environment for the community's children."

After
talking to numerous officials and not getting the attention she said
the issue deserved, the woman told School Committee members that she had to
resort to a public forum "hopefully to prevent another family from
experiencing our nightmare."

The alleged perpetrator, also a
first-grader, has been moved to a different classroom, she said. "As
far as I know, none of the parents in the new classroom are aware of the
change or risk to the children."

The mother said she feels for
the first-grader who allegedly assaulted her son. "Something obviously
was done wrong to this poor child. Unfortunately, he can't be my
concern." 

She said her son was one of two victims.

School
officials "apparently did nothing to warn the police or address the
behavior," she said. "The other victimized family was only made aware
of the issues after my son's assault."

On Oct. 7 she asked for the executive session to look at how the school and the school department handled the incident.

The
other parent also said on Oct.
7 that the issue was poorly handled. Since his son was assaulted, "you have
done nothing but try to hide this thing," he said. "This school has
violated my son's civil rights and the other little boy's. They've done
nothing but sweep this under the table and bully us. I
am not a man that's going to be bullied by anyone. I am going to
protect my son and the other children involved."

Auburn
Superintendent Tom Morrill responded by saying any allegation is
"thoroughly investigated" by many, including the school resource
officer, who works for the Auburn Police Department.

"We contact
various agencies," Morrill said. "In this case, we continue to contact Advocates for
Children to make sure their personal safety program is delivered to our
students." 

Advocates for Children will speak about
sexual abuse prevention at Sherwood Heights' upcoming PTO meeting, the
superintendent said. That meeting is scheduled for Nov. 10.

Morrill
said he was not at liberty to talk about specifics in the case, "but it
has been taken seriously." The school has responded with the
appropriate actions and involved the appropriate parties. "Also, we can
never forget it's also our responsibility to educate all children,"
Morrill said.

The father of one of the alleged victims disagreed, calling Morrill's response "a
bunch of crap. ... You have not taken the appropriate actions. You can
talk about plans and placement and programs and all this nice,
touchy-feely stuff and hide behind all these laws, but your school
failed to protect my kid, bottom line."

bwashuk@sunjournal.com

 

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Comments

Jean Domaingue's picture

This is yellow journalism at

This is yellow journalism at its finest hour. Sun Journal, you should be ashamed of yourself for such misleading reporting. A first grader is not a sexual predator but rather a poor victim of some horrible event. You can sell papers without lying.

Jean Domaingue's picture

This is yellow journalism at

This is yellow journalism at its finest hour. Sun Journal, you should be ashamed of yourself for such misleading reporting. A first grader is not a sexual predator but rather a poor victim of some horrible event. You can sell papers without lying.

so i have read down thru all

so i have read down thru all these postings. some i agree with some i dont. what gives any person here or anywhere to make comment that a child could be lieing about this? talk about making a child feel as if its not safe to tell a grown up if something like this happens to them. geesh how many of us as parents tell our children that no matter what its not ok for anyone to touch you in anyway that makes you feel uncomfortable?! weither it be a friend or family or teacher or dr. we all tell them that! im most certain that these children were questioned very heavily before their parents went out and pointed fingers. coming from experience of being molested when i was 4yrs old. if someone told me are you sure your not lieing cause it sounds like something off a tv show i would have been so afraid to tell anyone anything ever again. do i think that the news could have done this article differently? Yes. but i also think the school should have sent home something descrete that said there has been an incodent and if u feel that your child may have been involved to please contact the school. There is absolutely no reason why parents should have found out in the paper. all in all there was so many things that could have been done differently but fact is that its done and now its up to auburn school and apd to make sure that all the children of that school and all schools are safe from here on out!

Nancy Young's picture

There is not enough

There is not enough information for everyone to be making judgements here. Parents are up in arms because they weren't told about the situation, which is still unclear. Education about sexual abuse, molestation, assault and any other part of sexuality needs to begin at home and continue to be an open topic at home. Of course the parents weren't named to protect the children. A 17 year old's name is not listed when he/she has committed a real obvious crime to protect them since they are minors. Come on, people....don't jump to conclusions that are so high you'll never get back down. Don't terrify the kids who were or were not involved in this. No matter what the school officials had done, it would have been wrong to someone. I have no clue how homosexuality fell into this pot of confusion, but step back and use some common sense. I would bet that nearly 100% of adults had some curiousity about sex issues in the minds of children and acted upon those questions years ago. Did that make you a pervert or homosexual? No---you would have been perverts or homosexuals whether or not that had happened and there is no connection between perverts and homosexuals. In the animal kingdom there are homosexuals and do you you think it was because some little bear came along and touched another little bear? Nope, it is biological. Stay involved with your kids and teach them what they need to know about good touch and bad touch, curiousity and answer their questions honestly. Allow them that dignity.

Dee Beaudoin's picture

I have been attempting to be

I have been attempting to be extemely sensitive to the sensibilities and potential age of the readers, however some of our participants do not seem to get it so I must go a bit further with my explaination and hope they do. "Touch" here would be skin to skin contact or contact of one body part of one person to the body part of the other. From my past professional experience, I do not believe that either of these are what we are talking about in this case. I will only add to help those still in the dark a reminder of a comment made by a much earlier writer to the effect that 6 year olds do not have the physical development to perform. I hope this will suffice.

If we could only return to common sense...

Dee Beaudoin's picture

It does not say touched, it

It does not say touched, it says two boys were sexually assaulted and all readers for the sake of every child in their lives needs to be perfectly clear on that. The touch issue was raised in discussing the child advocacy group that is teaching the students good touch and bad touch. I do not have first hand knowledge of this particular case but unfortunately I do have knowledge as an investigator of other cases involving child offenders and "touch" as most of you are thinking of it was not the issue in the sexual assault and I will leave it at that.

If we could only return to common sense...

RONALD RIML's picture

Strange. Nobody here has

Strange.

Nobody here has referred to experiences or knowledge of children exhibiting natural curiosity and do what was once called 'Playing Doctor.

Is it that most readers/posters here are just a bunch of Pervs???

------------------------------------------
When I was a young Sailor - I drank like a Sailor, fought like a Sailor, and screwed like a Sailor. Now that I am old and wise - I have a few scars, but many fond memories.

Dee Beaudoin's picture

WAKE UP HER SON WAS SEXUALLY

WAKE UP HER SON WAS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED NOT INVOLVED IN CONSENTUAL SEX. Homosexuality is consentual not forcible. I left out very regretably in my prior comments that the two known victims, this young mans classmates, are likely not the only two and the others are probably younger than he is. In all likelihood he is or has violated younger siblings, cousins, neighbors, children he is at daycare with, younger children and schooland church any child he has access to is a potential victim and at risk. It is hard to use the terms and to wrap the mind around them when talking about a 6 or 7 year old but this is a sex offender and very likely a pediphile. Keep in mind this was not consentual but assault.

If we could only return to common sense...

Dee Beaudoin's picture

Sadly as a former member of

Sadly as a former member of law enforcement who delt withdomestic and sexual assault cases, I can very well imagine how one first grader can sexually assault another first grader of either sex. And do not go putting any of this on the homosexual community who have the utmost regard for and respect of children. In all likelihood the offender here is the victim of a pediphile and already practicing what he learned and extreme measures must be taken now or this young man will grow up to be an adult sex offender. The names of the parties were rightly not given. It would be wrong to identify the parents of the victims as this would through infrence identify the victims who have enough to deal with. The perpetrator should not be in the school any longer but receiving treatment and an education away from others he may potentially victimize. So long as that student is within that facility, evey student is a likely victim. Clearly proper reporting has not been by the school as required by law or those receiving the reports and subsequent parties have not done their jobs. Teaching people of any age how to keep them self safe is to a large degree dependent on authorities to keep known offenders in check. Here we have a fox welcome in the hen house then expected not to feast.

If we could only return to common sense...

Licia Kuenning's picture

This reminds me of an

This reminds me of an incident that occurred between my two of my tenant families about 14 years ago. One couple complained that their 4-year-old daughter had been sexually abused by the other couple's 5-year-old daughter. Within a few days a doctor, the police, the DHS, and a network of gossipy neighbors had all somehow become involved, the father of the 5-year-old had threatened to kill the father of the 4-year-old, and the latter was making plans to move. But I doubted that either of the little children at the heart of the storm knew what it was all about. They only knew they weren't allowed to play with each other any more. I see this kind of thing as an example of societal hysteria about sexual child abuse. Real child abuse is a serious matter--but what two little children do to each other is not sexual abuse.

I notice that in none of the other comments on this article is the writer's real full name given. Someone who posts as "tron" complains that the two 6-year-olds and their parents are anonymous. Really, tron, why not set an example by identifying yourself when you post? And I am voting Yes on 1 (though not a member of any "crowd") but this incident has absolutely nothing to do with that issue. I also agree that this incident wasn't worth putting in the newspaper.

 's picture

Anonymous people making

Anonymous people making anonymous allegation about an anonymous child. Something is fishy here. Either name the parents making the accusation or cut this out. The timing of the allegation is strange, just a couple of weeks before the election. The Yes on 1 crowd will pull out all the stops to win. IF this is true, then it appears the necessary steps are being taken, to bring this into a public forum smacks of another agenda.

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