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Growing Number of K-12 Teachers Charged With Child Sex Crimes in Recent Months

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By Jack Phillips for EPOCH TIMES — July 20, 2022
Anessa Paige Gower, a 35-year-old former biology teacher at Making Waves Academy in Richmond, California, was charged with 29 counts of child molestation on April 8. 

Anessa Paige Gower, a 35-year-old former biology teacher at Making Waves Academy in Richmond, California, was charged with 29 counts of child molestation on April 8.  (Richmond Police Department)

140 of the arrests, or 77%, involved alleged sex crimes against students

At least 181 K-12 teachers, principals, and staff have been arrested for child sex crimes in the United States so far this year, according to an analysis of reports.

At least 181 educators been arrested between Jan. 1 and June 30. The analysis conducted by Fox News Digital looked at local news stories week by week featuring arrests of principals, teachers, substitute teachers and teachers’ aides on child sex-related crimes in school districts across the country. Arrests that weren’t publicized were not counted in the analysis, meaning the true number may well be higher.

The analysis found that at least 181 have been arrested between January 1 and June 30, which works out to exactly an arrest a day on average

Four principals, 153 teachers, 12 substitute teachers, and 12 teachers were arrested on a litany of charges, including sexually assaulting students and possessing child pornography. About 140 of those who were arrested carried out alleged crimes against students.  Men also made up the vast majority – 78% – of the arrests.

Many of the arrests involved especially heinous allegations.

Roger Weaver Freed, the 34-year-old former principal at Williamsport Area High School in Pennsylvania, was arrested in June and charged with sexual contact with a student, corruption of a minor, furnishing liquor to a minor, sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault without consent. Freed is accused of having a years-long sexual relationship with a male student. (Too close for comfort for me — TPR)

An educator in Delaware, identified as High Road School teacher James Garfield, was arrested last week for allegedly assaulting a 15-year-old student. He was charged with two counts of felony rape and related charges, according to local media.

Days before that, another teacher in Warren, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged after he allegedly sexually assaulted a 15-year-old student. He was charged with aggravated indecent assault, institutional sexual assault, and other charges, it was reported.

Weeks before that, a Hoboken, New Jersey man admitted to raping two 17-year-old girls while he worked as a gym teacher in two different public school districts in Hudson County, New Jersey. In late June, 45-year-old Francisco Realpe pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault, prosecutors said.

Shannon Hall, a 31-year-old former teacher at Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences High School in New York City, was arrested in June and charged with forcible touching, endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated harassment. Hall is accused of grabbing a 14-year-old female student’s breast inside his classroom and of sending texts to a 16-year-old student that said he wanted to have sex with her and threatening to kill her if she told anyone.

Norman Merrill, a 45-year-old former teacher at Green Mountain Union High School in Vermont, was arrested in May and charged with production of child sexual abuse material and possession of child sexual abuse material.

Merrill is accused of secretly video recording female students walking past him at school and of producing videos showing nude children.

Anessa Paige Gower, a 35-year-old former biology teacher at Making Waves Academy in Richmond, California, was charged with 29 counts of child molestation on April 8. (see lead off photo)

Gower is accused of sexually abusing seven students between 2021-2022 when she was a teacher at Making Waves, with allegations including forcible sodomy of minors and sharing sexually graphic photos over online platforms.

John Doty, a 35-year-old former biology teacher at Career Academy South Bend in Indiana, was charged with two counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and six counts of child seduction on Feb. 9.

John Doty, a 35-year-old former biology teacher at Career Academy South Bend in Indiana, was charged with two counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and six counts of child seduction on Feb. 9.(La Porte County Sheriff’s Office) Doty is accused of repeatedly raping a 16-year-old female student and threatening to kill her. He is scheduled to stand trial in January 2023.

Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute an activist who has battled the spread of critical race theory in classrooms, called for a new study on child sex abuse in schools.

“This is a scandal that the political Left is doing everything in its power to suppress,” he said in a statement to Fox News. “The basic fact is incontrovertible: every day, a public school teacher is arrested, indicted, or convicted for child sex abuse. And yet, the teachers unions, the public school bureaucracies, and the left-wing media pretend that the abuse isn’t happening and viciously attack families who raise concerns.”

In an article published in April, Rufo noted that the Department of Education last released a report in 2004 (pdf), which said nearly 9.6 percent of students have been targeted by teachers for sexual misconduct in K-12 classrooms.

“The most comprehensive report about sexual abuse in public schools, published by the Department of Education in 2004, estimates—on the basis of a 2000 survey, conducted by the American Association of University Women, of 2,065 students in grades eight through 11—that nearly 10 percent of K-12 students have been victims of sexual misconduct by a public school employee,” he wrote.

If that figure is correct, he noted that it would “translate into an approximately 4.5 million children nationwide suffering sexual misconduct by public school employees, with an estimated 3 million suffering physical sexual abuse.” That figure, Rufo said, could be “more than 100 times greater than the physical abuse committed by Catholic priests, who, at the time the report was published, were undergoing a reckoning for the crimes within their ranks.

The Epoch Times has contacted the Department of Education for comment.

This article also contains material produced by FOX News Digital.

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