The summer months saw a disturbing surge of teacher sexual misconduct with students as the start of the new school year starts is just a few weeks away.
KBXT-3, the CBS News affiliate in College Station, reported that a 17-year-old male student in the East Central Texas area high school contacted local police on Monday, alleging that theatre arts instructor Gregory Stanley, 42, “initiated unwanted sexual contact” with him at Stanley’s home.
NBC local KAGS-6 reported the boy was given an alcoholic beverage by the teacher and told to drink it slowly. The specifics of the purported sexual encounter between Stanley and the victim were not released and it is not clear why the student was at the teacher’s home. On Tuesday, Stanley apologized to the victim for the incident by phone. The student recorded the call, which he turned over to police.
Stanley was taken into custody that evening at his home. Bond was set at $35,000. He faces second degree felony charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine with a conviction. The teacher was at the College Station high school since 2013, heavily involved in the theatre department including in a one-act play that earned students a trip to the state’s University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition, according to KBTX-3.
In a statement, the College Station Independent School District (ISD) said Stanley was placed on administrative leave pending the results of a police investigation. The district also commented: “…accusations of this nature are disturbing, and if proven to be true, unacceptable” nor will “misconduct of this nature will not be tolerated by any employee.”
Also on Monday, former Dallas ISD teacher and coach, Philon Deberry, 45, received 10 years of probation for sexually assaulting a student and five years of probation for having an improper relationship with another. He must register as a sex offender as part of the plea deal, according to the Dallas Morning News. If he completes the probations, he avoids a formal conviction.
Throughout summer break, teacher sex scandals surfaced.
In June, Krum band director Steve Scher, 28, was arrested for having an improper relationship with a student. Also, Wichita Falls teacher Amber Witte, 29, was taken into custody on sexual misconduct charges. Although she admitted to having oral sex with a teenage male student, she denied having sexual intercourse, which the victim alleged. After a $5,000 bond, Witte was released from the Wichita County Jail.
In late June, a Central Texas high school teacher was arrested for allegedly having sexual relations with a 15-year-old female student. Shawn Westley Noordam, 29, the boys’ track coach and physical education teacher in Copperas Cove, was arraigned on one count of sexual assault of a child and improper relationship between and educator and student. He was later released on $50,000 bail. The Copperas Cove school said that Noordam was no longer employed by the district, the San Antonio Express-News has since reported.
Then in July, Dallas ISD teacher Troy French, 38 was arrested for allegedly having several sexual encounters with an 18-year-old female student. Although the sex was consensual, the relationship was illegal because it was between a teacher and a student, Dallas ISD Police Chief Craig Miller told the Dallas Morning News. A district spokesman identified French as the girl’s wrestling coach and social studies teacher. His bail was set at $25,000.
South of Dallas, Hurst Euless Bedford (HEB) ISD elementary school principal Oscar Figueroa, 46, was arrested and the feds charged him with enticement of a minor, although he pled not guilty. According to the Frisco Enterprise, Figueroa was under investigation based on a Craigslist online ad he placed seeking male-to-male oral sex at a movie theatre with “young partners.” Officers arrested Figueroa at the upscale Frisco Stonebriar Center Mall AMC movie theatre. He resigned his post.
Last year, Breitbart Texas reported on the troubling uptick of improper sexual relationships between educators and students. One teacher gave a student a birthday lap dance. A school security guard allegedly sent sexual texts to female students, only to be suspended and then reinstated. A band director had sex with a high school girl in his music room, and a teacher was sentenced to 17 years in prison for producing child pornography with a 16-year-old student whom he impregnated. This year, Breitbart Texas covered numerous incidents across the state.
It is not just Texas. Nationwide, it is epidemic, says Terry Abbott, the former U.S. Department of Education chief-of-staff who heads up Houston-based research firm Drive West Communications. They track reports of inappropriate teacher-student sexual relationship across the country. Abbott credited social media for the eruption of classroom sexual predators that has “created an open gateway for inappropriate behavior,” including developing “improper relationships with students out of sight of parents and principals.”
In 2014, about 35 percent of the sexual misconduct cases between educators and their students involved social media nationwide.
In March, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) added 74 alleged cases to existing 2013-14 school year tally of 179 cases. Breitbart Texas reported that sexual misconduct cases increased by 27 percent from 141 purported cases since the 2009-10 school year.
Besides criminal prosecution, the TEA’s Educator Investigations (EI) unit examines these educator sexual misconduct cases once they are reported. The offender can be sanctioned. These recriminations may vary from a reprimand to permanent certification revocation. When an educator receives deferred adjudication for a crime, they may not teach while serving that sentence.
TEA tracks data on sexual misconduct cases that they report on a fiscal year end basis.
Previously, TEA told Breitbart Texas that 334,000-plus public school teachers comprise the overwhelming majority of teachers and they act in an appropriate and ethical sexual manner.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.