A grand jury in Harrisburg declared 17 months ago that school administrators are singularly unqualified to investigate alleged sexual abuse, but the practice continues.
“School district administrators lack training needed to conduct a meaningful investigation into whether or not physical or sexual abuse has occurred,” according to a Dauphin County grand jury’s investigation of Susquehanna Township School District in January 2014.
The grand jury said administrators lack access to investigative resources such as search warrants, court orders, wiretaps or subpoenas and lack training in the questioning of victims, witnesses and suspects.
“Very often, a preliminary investigation will tip off a suspect and foreclose the availability of the investigative resources described above even once the police become involved,” the panel concluded.
Former Plum school board member Joseph Tommarello said he told the school superintendent three years ago about inappropriate contact between English teacher Joseph Ruggieri and student – and told him again last year.
Superintendent Timothy Glasspool told him, “This would not be the first time he will have had to have a conversation with Mr. Ruggieri about inappropriate contact with students,” Tommarello said.
When he heard nothing back, Tommarello said he believed it meant there was nothing to be found.
“It’s disgusting to think that a teacher has some kind of relationship like this with a student and nothing gets done about it,” Tommarello said in an interview with the Tribune-Review Monday.
A trail of months-old text messages, followed by a police investigation that discovers an inappropriate relationship between an educator and a student: It’s a story line that’s becoming all too familiar.
At Plum High School, police have charged two teachers with crimes involving students. At Norwin High School, an investigation is ongoing after what were described as inappropriate text messages were found between a teacher and a student.
It unfolded again Thursday in the Ringgold School District, where police announced they had filed charges against a former guidance counselor for allegedly having sex with a high school football player.
Rostraver police said Lianne Danko, 33, of Rostraver, was charged with three counts of institutional sexual assault.
Rain clouds and an ongoing criminal investigation could not dampen the spirits of 309 seniors who graduated from Plum High School on Friday night.
“It’s over,” senior class president Michael Bell said to a gymnasium audience brimming with nervous excitement. “We did it.”
The ceremony marked the end of a school year in which three teachers were charged criminally, two with sex crimes involving students, and other staff members were stuck under the cloud of a grand jury investigation into whether they knew about inappropriate relationships and did nothing.
An Allegheny County grand jury is investigating whether teachers at Plum High School abused as many as eight female students over as many as eight years and that school officials kept it quiet, according to a sealed search warrant executed Tuesday.
The warrant — signed Monday by Common Pleas Judge Jill E. Rangos, who supervises the grand jury — sought records that could show whether district officials knew about inappropriate contact between staff and students.
The warrant indicates that a grand jury is investigating whether criminal charges should be filed against school officials for failing to report known sexual abuse.
Among the violations under consideration are tampering with records, fabricating evidence, obstructing the administration of law, failure to report abuse and intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in a child abuse case, according to the warrant.
A Plum High School teacher has hired an attorney who also represents Jerry Sandusky.
Drew Zoldak, 40, of New Kensington, has hired Butler county defense attorney Alexander H. Lindsay Jr. to defend him against charges of witness intimidation.
Lindsay also represents Sandusky in the former Penn State assistant football coach’s post conviction relief act appeal of his conviction for molesting young boys.
Zoldak is accused of identifying a girl in his class as one who allegedly had sex with Joseph Ruggieri, 40, of Plum, an English teacher at the school charged with institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors and witness intimidation.
HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo and a top aide resigned Thursday over revelations that they were among dozens of state officials who sent or received pornographic e-mails over state computers.
In a letter to Gov. Corbett, Abruzzo said he had not been able to review the explicit messages he allegedly sent or received, but said he accepted responsibility for “any lack of judgment” he may have exhibited. He added: “It is my concern that these assertions have become a distraction from the great record of this administration.”
Hours later, the department’s deputy chief counsel, Glenn Parno, also resigned.
Their resignations made them the first high-ranking casualties of a scandal that has coursed through the capital as Corbett vies for a second term and one that widened Thursday to touch one of the state’s most prominent judges, Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery.
“The disgraced former congressman—who’s sitting on a $4.5 million campaign war chest—is mulling a bid for citywide office next year and ‘seriously considering’ a mayoral run,” sources told the New York Post. The newspaper reported that Weiner has spoken with former staffers about returning to work for him.
In addition to Jerry Sandusky, JoePa, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, Mike McQueary and Graham Spanier, you can add Second Mile charity CEO Jack Raykovitz to the growing cast of characters. Mr. Raykovitz resigned Sunday after 28 years at the helm. So far all the victims were boys in the Second Mile program. Second Mile has retained Philadelphia law firm Archer & Greiner as its counsel.
Mike McQueary, on paid administrative leave, is apparently consulting with the Harrisburg law firm of Strokoff and Cowden, who specialize in employment law. McQueary received death threats and is reportedly in hiding.
McQueary is being handled differently than the others because he is a witness in the case and he also may fall under Pennsylvania’s whistleblower law. The law includes protection for the whistleblower against firing, demotion or punishment. McQueary’s status under this law is still being determined.
What’s up with all the sex addictions lately???? Anthony Weiner has entered rehab (probably under the advice of Ed Rendell, M.D.) to hopefully get a grip on his sex addiction and learn a few things about social media and what not to tweet!
Weiner notified Nancy Pelosi that he intended to give up his U.S.Congressional seat. Pelosi has been one of many Democrats, including POTUS Barack Obama, calling for Weiner to resign. This once rising star of Democratic politics has hit rock bottom. Last July, former POTUS Bill Clinton officiated at his wedding and now Democratic leaders cannot distance themselves from him fast enough. The Democratic leadership is afraid of how this scandal could hurt their chances in 2012.
It is hard to feel sorry for a grown man who does not have the self-control not to tweet or text pictures of his anatomy. Especially a newly married man who’s wife is expecting their first child. Hopefully Weiner will develop some more appropriate hobbies as the result of his stint in rehab.
Today, Weiner held a news conference in Brooklyn and officially resigned. He appropriately blamed himself for the predicament he “created”. Unlike politicians in Pottstown, who do inappropriate things and say they are “passionate”, Weiner took responsibility for his error in judgment. I at least give the guy credit for that!
Even with most of the Democratic Party calling for his resignation, Anthony Weiner is refusing to step down. While the Democrats are having apoplexy over Weinergate, there are some who took this “sexcapade” and turned it into a profitable enterprise.
Evidently one can buy an anatomically correct Anthony Weiner doll. Demand is so high the website keeps crashing. You can even get a miniature Blackberry for your Weiner doll as an accessory. If Weiner resigns, the doll could become highly collectible. Can you imagine EBay’s delight!