School crimes under wraps: Assaults, robberies not always reported to police

Jessica Blanchard & Casey McNerthney:

King County prosecutors on Wednesday charged two Seattle teenagers in a sexual assault on a developmentally disabled female classmate in a Rainier Beach High School restroom in June — an incident that school officials never reported to police.
A Seattle P-I review of police and Seattle Public Schools records shows that case isn’t the only likely crime that wasn’t reported to police. While a majority of incidents on school campuses were recorded into the district’s safety and security logs and reported to police if necessary, some incidents weren’t — including cases of assaults and strong-arm robberies.
In a few cases, parents or victims say school officials urged them not to report the crimes to police at all.
Pegi McEvoy, who recently took over as interim manger of Seattle schools’ safety and security department, acknowledged that the district had a “fragmented” system for documenting and tracking alleged crimes on campuses. This fall, though, district security specialists began filing their reports electronically — one of a handful of changes intended to streamline and strengthen the reporting process, she said.


16 thoughts on “School crimes under wraps: Assaults, robberies not always reported to police”

  1. Ok at Whitehorse Middle School on or about 9-26-07. A student was attacked by her shop teacher Richard Raith. A gym teacher reported it to the principal. The nurse treated the girl for her injuries. When the parents arrived at the school. The principal informed them that the teacher Richard Raith had never done this before and that the Principal felt that the teacher was Very Wrong for his actions. The principal said he Made theteacher say he was sorry but will not call the police. Doesnt the school care about the safety of its students in Madison Wisconsin. Maybe its just the Madison Metropolitan School District?

  2. FYI: Both news reports and eye-witness accounts differ substantially from “Madison Tax Payer’s” post above.

  3. My facts are correct. I have spoken with the Eye Wittnesses, the principal, I have listened to what Madison Police Officers have to say. I spoke with Susan Troller (the reporter). I know the victim and have met the teacher that assaulted her. I guess Mr. Cohen will want to write another post, if next week the teacher is arrested on felony charges as I am led to believe will soon happen? To my knowledge I agree with everything that I am told ALL wittnesses have to say. Mr Cohen has been misinformed.

  4. Mr. Cohen are you an Attorney at law? Are you the attorney who has been involved with the district? Are you leaking confidential information that is incorrect? How do you think the Wisconsin Bar Association feels about situations like this? I would show some sympathy for the victim. This family is trying to do nothing more then keep ALL students safe. Should we all not want resolution for the victim and the school. The primary responsibility of a school even before education is safety of the children. How is this a bad thing?

  5. Plenty of sharks around here to play the lawyer card…but do tell us, why would the elementary school principal risk their at job to speak with YOU about this confidential matter? Unless, of course, you are the parent of the putative victim…we have a legal system. Instead of trying your case on SIS (believe me, this IS the wrong place to try ANY case), let the DA and the courts decide. I’m sure you’ll bilk the MMSD for some quick cash!

  6. Do law schools spend enough time on ethics? Or do they devote the bulk on teaching law students on how to bait wittnesses? How much of a law students time is spent learning on how to spin things and blow smoke to cloud issues? How about maybe they spend more time on helping resolve issues fairly? More time could also be devoted to helping victims heal….or maybe I am wrong and these values and ethics are not needed and Lawyers dont play games at others expence??? How would Jesus Christ practice law?

  7. The only person I hear talking about bilking the system out of money is the attorney for the school system. Not the family. One thing Cohen is right about is this. Yes let the legal system run its course and deal with the teacher but that applies to attornies making unfounded statements about the victim and her family. Mr. Cohen you should no better.

  8. Did Mr. Cohen Take care of this victim. This is how are protecting our citys children? Saturday, September 10, 2005
    SANDY CULLEN 608-252-6137
    Madison police said Friday they have referred an April 2004 case of reported physical abuse of an eighth-grade student by Madison teacher Hector Vazquez to the Dane County district attorney’s office for possible prosecution.
    Police said last month that the 2004 report had “slipped through the cracks” and was not reviewed by a representative from the Dane County district attorney’s office to determine if charges should be filed.
    District Attorney Brian Blanchard said he had not yet had a chance to review the case.
    Madison School District officials had also investigated another allegation that Vazquez used inappropriate physical force against a student at Sennett Middle School prior to the April 2004 police investigation, Principal Colleen Lodholz confirmed this week.
    The 2003 incident was not reported to police, and the district took no disciplinary action against Vazquez.
    Last month Vazquez was put on paid leave by the district pending the outcome of an independent investigation of a sexual harassment complaint filed against him by 28 parents at Jefferson Middle School, where Vazquez began teaching Spanish last year.
    Lodholz confirmed that a meeting with Vazquez took place on Nov. 10, 2003, to discuss a student allegation that Vazquez had used inappropriate force in the school hallways. School officials determined that no disciplinary action against Vazquez was warranted.
    Superintendent Art Rainwater said that reports that a teacher used physical force against a student are reported to police if school officials believe that an assault or other reportable offense has occurred.
    According to the police report of the 2004 incident, police were called the next day when the student came to school with his father, who requested to speak to police.
    The student told police that Vazquez told him to stop clicking his pen, then grabbed and twisted the student’s arm to remove the pen from his hand before he had a chance to stop clicking it. Vazquez told police he only grabbed the pen with two fingers after the boy moved the pen to within 6 inches of his face, and may have touched the boy’s fingers.
    Had charges been filed at the time of the 2004 incident, it is unlikely that the district attorney’s office would have agreed to a plea arrangement that allowed Vazquez to go into the Deferred Prosecution Unit after he was charged with two counts of battery and one count of disorderly conduct following a domestic violence incident in January 2004 involving his wife, Blanchard has said.
    Under the plea agreement, the battery charges were dismissed, and the disorderly conduct charge was dismissed after Vazquez completed the Deferred Prosecution program.
    Rainwater has said that Vazquez was “appropriately disciplined” by the school district for the 2004 incident.
    John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teachers Inc., said Vazquez received a letter of reprimand for using what the district said was excessive force with the student. The teachers union maintains that the reprimand was unjustified and is challenging the district’s action.
    Matthews said the sexual harassment complaint amounted to “bogus claims” and “nothing but ill-intent.”
    Parents filed the Title IX complaint last month because they were dissatisfied with the district’s internal investigation of their concerns last spring.
    In their complaint, the parents claim that Vazquez created a hostile learning environment by showing an R-rated movie and by making repeated references “to his personal sexual exploits,” staring at girls’ breasts in class and touching students in a way that made them and observers uncomfortable.
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  9. I don’t know much about Jesus, but I can surmise he’d not be trying his cases on the internet. So, instead of posting information about completely unrelated incidents, how about sticking to the current incident, the facts of which are still being sorted out at multiple levels of the MMSD and the city legal system. Thanks!

  10. Thanks for posting that link, Ed. I think we all hope that IF the teacher did something wrong, he will be appropriately punished. You ask about justice prevailing…what is justice in this case? My guess is that definition will vary widely depending on to whom you talk. I can think of a number of staff vs. student incidents in the past 5 yrs where the parent didn’t run to the local media before the actual facts were determined by an impartial arbiter, the police, the district, etc. BTW, there is a very lengthy (and now locked) thread on this whole matter somewhere on the website.

  11. I agree David that one case does not have to do with the other……except the district and union covered the case and transfered the teacher to Jefferson. Where unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for the district the parents at Jefferson were not going to put up with a pervert at our school. The district does not have a backbone where the union is concerned, and drug addicted (Memorial, sexually complaints, Jefferson), staff continue to work for the district until enough parents scream and complain. It is a shame the principals have no power. It is a useless job!

  12. Where is the Arnt School District? In Wisconsin?;) And if you can hurt children there and remain above the law, they must have a Fagan Elementary there!

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