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IPS teacher kept his job despite red flags(Gay teacher made advances that were ignored) ^ | July 05, 2009 |

Posted on 07/31/2009 8:46:59 AM PDT by Maelstorm

School districts, state agency blamed in molestation case

Indiana child welfare officials and school districts in two states had a responsibility to protect children in Lee N. Tibbetts’ classroom, but a series of miscommunications and missteps among those agencies failed to catch a pattern of problematic behavior over three years.

That breakdown allowed Tibbetts to remain in the classroom despite multiple accusations, including one that eventually led to the math teacher being arrested on charges alleging he molested a student while teaching for Indianapolis Public Schools.

A review by The Indianapolis Star and The Cincinnati Enquirer shows that red flags were raised as early as 2007, two years before police say Tibbetts molested a 13-year-old Indianapolis boy.Among the findings:

» Tibbetts resigned from Cincinnati Public Schools in 2007 while being investigated for making inappropriate comments to a student. Ohio law requires the district to report such resignations to state regulators, but the district can’t determine whether it did so.

» Indianapolis Public Schools never contacted the school Tibbetts last worked for and failed to uncover his history before hiring him. IPS also failed to follow up on the claim in 2008 that Tibbetts had “come on” to a student and might not have documented earlier concerns.

» Indiana’s Department of Child Services decided not to investigate the August 2008 claim that Tibbetts touched a 15-year-old boy’s arm and knee while asking sexually suggestive questions, a decision experts say was wrong and could have allowed the teacher to victimize additional children.

Through it all, Tibbetts kept teaching math.

The incidents show the systems designed to protect children are only as good as the vigilance of those agencies to pursue and document accusations.

It wasn’t until another student came forward in May to say he had been molested that Indianapolis police were alerted. Police investigated, and Tibbetts was charged with six counts of felony child molestation.

But when police dug further, they uncovered the earlier incident that DCS did not investigate — and filed another felony charge, for child solicitation. A trial date for Tibbetts has not been set.

State Sen. Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood, who helped write a bill to create more independent oversight of DCS, said the lack of communication among agencies and poor oversight in Tibbetts’ case are alarming.

“It sounds like there were at least a half-dozen points where better knowledge, better oversight could have solved this problem,” Waltz said. “If those warning signs weren’t enough to get the prosecutor involved or to get the school system to remove him, what would it take?”

The first red flag appears to have been raised in 2007, when an 18-year-old Cincinnati student claimed the teacher made sexual conversation with him and touched his arms and legs.

Tibbetts resigned after the school year ended, in the midst of the district’s investigation. That investigation appears to have been dropped.

“Due to summer schedules and the fact that due process hearings involving (the teachers’ union) don’t occur during the summer,” spokeswoman Janet Walsh said, “it had not been completed . . . when he submitted his resignation.”

Ohio law requires districts to alert the state when teachers resign while under investigation. Last week, Cincinnati officials could find only a draft copy of a letter to the state about Tibbetts, and Walsh said the district was unable to confirm it was ever sent.

Scott Blake, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, would not say whether the state had received a letter. He declined to comment on Tibbetts’ issues in Cincinnati, other than to confirm the state had not disciplined him for any misdeeds.

If the Cincinnati district had reported the matter, and the state confirmed the behavior, it could have issued a public or private reprimand to Tibbetts, an action it has taken in the past in similar cases.

That information then could have been disclosed to Indiana officials when Tibbetts requested a license here.

Instead, when Indiana Department of Education officials checked with the Ohio Department of Education, it confirmed Tibbetts was a teacher in good standing. And his Indiana teaching license was approved in July 2007.

License granted, Tibbetts applied to Indianapolis Public Schools to teach for the 2007-08 school year. The district ran a standard background check, including checking references with the Cincinnati schools, IPS officials said.

“When HR checked him, they had two letters from principals that were sterling,” IPS Superintendent Eugene White said. “He was clean.”

District officials suggested that had they known that Tibbetts had quit his last job while under investigation, they might not have hired him.

But the background check IPS did had a limitation: The district never checked with anyone at the school where Tibbetts worked before he applied for a job in Indianapolis.

Instead, Tibbetts was given forms by IPS to give to his references that they could send in to IPS. All three that came back were from administrators who had worked with Tibbetts earlier in his career.

That policy makes sense, IPS spokeswoman Mary Louise Bewley said, because potential employees might not want their supervisors to know they’re looking for other jobs.

Bewley added that IPS also received a letter from Cincinnati Public Schools’ human resources department confirming Tibbetts’ dates of employment but raising no concerns. It is unclear, though, what questions IPS officials asked their counterparts in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Public Schools says it has no record that IPS contacted the district to ask about Tibbetts, although it said individual principals could have been contacted without making a record in Tibbetts’ file.

In his first year in IPS, Tibbetts worked in the district’s alternative schools — and the district might have been made aware of the first hint of trouble.

Supervisors that year warned Tibbetts to avoid close relationships with students after concerns came to light from students or parents there, said Jeffery C. White, a former IPS principal who later supervised Tibbetts.

Bewley said Tibbetts’ personnel file showed no record of any incident during the 2007-08 school year. Repeated attempts to reach the administrator who had overseen Tibbetts were unsuccessful.

Such an incident could have been a crucial chance for IPS to document Tibbetts’ missteps. Many employers issue letters to employees spelling out expectations after a first problem to lay a foundation for more severe discipline if it happens again.

Tibbetts had been on his new job at Marshall Community High School for a few weeks in 2008 when a 15-year-old boy and his mother told the principal Tibbetts had made sexual conversation with the boy and rubbed his arm and knee.

School administrators did what they were supposed to: They reported the incident to the Department of Child Services.

IPS social worker Shawnieka Pope called the DCS hotline and told an operator about the 15-year-old boy’s accusations.

She told the state the boy said Tibbetts asked him if anyone in his family was gay and if he had “done anything” with another boy. Tibbetts then rubbed his knee and arm.

But the agency decided the report didn’t merit investigation.

Jennifer Hubartt, regional manager for the DCS local office in Marion County, said supervisors reviewing reports ask themselves one key question: If what I’m seeing were true, would that rise to the level of a crime under Indiana law?

“When we’re looking at the sex abuse reports that are coming in, we’re going to look at the allegations — the narrative that is provided to us — and see if anywhere in that if it fits into the statute requirement for that report to be assigned,” she said. “If it does not fit it, then we cannot assign it.”

An agency supervisor initially determined the report did not meet the standard to launch an investigation, a decision that was upheld by a management team that reviews hotline reports that are not assigned for investigation.

Based on the information the agency had, Hubartt explained, there was no other legal option.

“I don’t think we’re at fault at all in this,” she said. “We regret that this person victimized people. But we couldn’t have done this differently under the Indiana law as it exists.”

Although DCS might not have thought the incident was criminal, the police ultimately did. The Marion County prosecutor has filed a child solicitation charge against Tibbetts related to that 2008 incident — the one DCS declined to investigate.

Two experts who reviewed a copy of the agency’s intake report obtained by The Star said the facts warranted investigation.

“DCS clearly fumbled the ball on this,” said Henry Karlson, professor emeritus at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.

Karlson has written a book on child abuse as well as contributed articles on the subject to the Indiana Law Review and the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect. He said the details DCS had would, if true, constitute sexual misconduct with a minor under Indiana law.

“On this statement alone,” Karlson said of the report’s reference to Tibbetts touching the boy’s knee and arm, “I could probably get a conviction . . . from half the juries in Indiana.”

The Indiana statute says any adult “fondling or touching” a child at least 14 but younger than 16 “with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the older person” commits sexual misconduct with a minor.

And, he explained, the threshold for launching an abuse investigation is much lower than what is needed to obtain a criminal conviction.

“He was ‘coming on’ to the child, which clearly indicated the child thought it was sexual,” Karlson said. “Add to that the rubbing of the knee while talking about sexual orientation and sexual activity. There were red flags all over this. I have no idea why they didn’t investigate this.”

When DCS “screened out” the case, it alerted IPS officials, although several district administrators said they thought — erroneously — that the state had investigated and found the claims to be unsubstantiated.

IPS gives its administrators the option to request an internal review of such matters even if the state determines it doesn’t meet its threshold for review, said Jane Ajabu, the district’s human resources chief.

Administrators at Marshall did not request such a review.

Jeffery White, the former principal, said he didn’t know that option existed and that he would have requested an internal investigation if he had known he could.

“I’ve never heard of that,” he said last week. "Nobody said, ‘You know, there’s an option to have it investigated more.’ "

And neither IPS nor DCS notified the Indianapolis police. After another boy came forward in May, an IMPD detective found a copy of the same report that the state had decided not to investigate.

The new allegations were even more disturbing.

The 13-year-old boy told police Tibbetts performed oral sex on him at least six times, threatened him with low grades if he didn’t comply and coached him to lie to an assistant principal who nearly walked in on them, according to a probable cause affidavit.

In the wake of the arrest, Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said publicly that he faults both DCS and IPS for not referring the August 2008 report to local police.

Several policymakers and child advocates said the various agencies’ failure to act prior to Tibbetts’ arrest raises serious questions about how children in Indiana are protected.

Joyce Thomas, president of the Center for Child Protection and Family Support in Washington, D.C., said DCS should have looked into the 2008 accusation rather than dismissing it and allowing Tibbetts to potentially victimize more children.

“That’s their job,” she said. “They must rise to the occasion of being absolutely sure that no child is in danger. The only way to do that is through an investigation. Just to rule it out is dangerous, truly dangerous.”

She added that reports from schools and other institutions “should have the highest priority because so many more children are exposed to potential harm.”

The family of the victim in the alleged 2008 incident is outraged that Tibbetts was allowed to remain with students despite all the red flags.

“They should have done something about it when we told them,” a spokesman for the family said. The Star is not naming the person because it could identify the young victim.

The spokesman said school and child welfare officials dropped the ball, leaving Tibbetts in the classroom. But he also blamed officials in Cincinnati for allowing Tibbetts to continue having access to young boys.

“They should have caught him back in Ohio,” he said. “They should have dealt with it then, but they swept it under the table, and that allowed him to come up here and take advantage of other kids.”

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abuse; academicbias; celebrateperversity; childmolester; crime; cultureofcorruption; deviant; education; fdrq; gay; homeschooling; homosexualagenda; indiana; indoctrination; ips; moralabsolutes; publicschools; schools; seduction; sodomy; sourcetitlenoturl; teacher; teensex
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Don't know how I missed this one of course many of the stories about this refuse to report on the guys orientation which is very relevant to this case. We have seen this. These guys are protected and have license, they often use the idea of counseling questioning youth to aid them in their abuse. Increasingly homosexuals are getting a free pass on things that no one else would and it is putting kids in danger.

1 posted on 07/31/2009 8:46:59 AM PDT by Maelstorm
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To: Maelstorm

Good thing heterosexuals never molest kids.

2 posted on 07/31/2009 8:51:07 AM PDT by stormer
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To: Maelstorm
the chair Pictures, Images and Photos
3 posted on 07/31/2009 8:54:12 AM PDT by massmike (...So this is what happens when OJ's jury elects the president....)
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To: Maelstorm
Hardly a surprise.

Given the strong link between sodomites and pederasty, a high school teaching position probably holds all the allure of “bikini inspector” would for a normal person.

Get in a position of trust with access to children, that's got to be goal number one for a lot of homos.

There was a guy who taught in my high school, “(Let's Go) Lasco” who would have members of the drama/glee/proto-homo clubs over to his home on the weekends for wine drinking and poetry discussions.

I can only imagine how many young lives were wrecked by that letch.

4 posted on 07/31/2009 8:54:35 AM PDT by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: stormer

What does that mean? Homosexuals have a much greater incidence of molestation per their population. They want to be prideful when they are in the street getting blow jobs and being indecent but the pride disappears when they get arrested and more and more of them are as people turn a blind eye and sometimes even protect them. A friend of mine was molested by a gay uncle. It changed his life horribly but that is the sad truth but you would choose to ignore it.

5 posted on 07/31/2009 8:55:32 AM PDT by Maelstorm (Why are those who claim to have open minds so afraid of open debate?)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: Owl_Eagle

It is getting even worse with the prevalence of gay lesbian teacher straight alliances. Over and over again bad behavior by homosexuals is ignored, its happening because of the fear of retaliation.

7 posted on 07/31/2009 8:59:32 AM PDT by Maelstorm (Why are those who claim to have open minds so afraid of open debate?)
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To: Maelstorm
I'm an Assistant Scoutmaster in the BSA. During our training we are told over, and over, and over again that we are NEVER, under ANY cirsumstances to be alone with any Scout other than our own son.

Ever. Period.

There is ALWAYS to be at least one other person, Scout or adult present during the ENTIRE time.

How hard would it be for teachers to adhere to the same policy?

8 posted on 07/31/2009 9:00:40 AM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Owl_Eagle

It is getting even worse with the prevalence of gay lesbian teacher straight alliances. Over and over again bad behavior by homosexuals is ignored, its happening because of the fear of retaliation.

9 posted on 07/31/2009 9:01:13 AM PDT by Maelstorm (Why are those who claim to have open minds so afraid of open debate?)
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To: Maelstorm

The sexual obsession that these poor people suffer often includes a powerful drive toward pederasty. As a consequence it will be necessary, if current trends toward the “normalization” of their degeneracy continues, to either significantly reduce the penalties for child molestation or remove such laws altogether. This could be done by lowering the age of consent to a number that is more accomodating to their compulsive lust - say to around 12 or so.

If this sounds impossible please note that just 20 years ago the whole notion of homosexual “marriage” sounded impossible. And it wasn’t so long ago that no openly homosexual person could be elected to public office or appointed to any sensitive government position.

10 posted on 07/31/2009 9:02:52 AM PDT by scory
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: scory

It is horrible. I have mixed feelings. The one thing I know for certain is that many of these individuals have been abused and that by encouraging openness and acceptance of the abusive behavior they are placed in a situation where they are more likely to fall into the cycle and abuse others as they were. It isn’t guaranteed. Many who are abused would never hurt another but others face a battle that is horrible and far too many become monsters themselves.

12 posted on 07/31/2009 9:06:00 AM PDT by Maelstorm (Why are those who claim to have open minds so afraid of open debate?)
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To: stormer
Good thing heterosexuals never molest kids.

Of course they do.

But let's do some math here:
98% of all child molesters are male.
2% (at most) of the population is homosexual.
40% of victims are male.

So why aren't 98% of the victims female?

Why does 2% of the population swing the number from 2% to 40% if they're not doing it at an astronomically higher rate than the 98% straight group?

13 posted on 07/31/2009 9:08:47 AM PDT by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: Maelstorm

We are in denial about the massive addiction to lust out there among the homosexuals and heterosexuals as well.

Why do gays want to adopt children? Are they planning to molest them like the gay guy at Duke University did?

Are they in denial about their lust? I say YES.

14 posted on 07/31/2009 9:20:50 AM PDT by Nextrush (Sarah Palin is the new Ronald Reagan, I hope.)
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To: Lurker

Good thought.

15 posted on 07/31/2009 9:27:31 AM PDT by LuxMaker (The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, Thomas J 1819)
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To: scory
This could be done by lowering the age of consent to a number that is more accomodating to their compulsive lust - say to around 12 or so.

Age of consent is limited constitutionally in SC. The pervs have already tried to get that amended so as to clear the way for the legislation they want. It was a question on the ballot last election.

16 posted on 07/31/2009 9:33:05 AM PDT by thulldud (It HAS happened here!)
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To: Owl_Eagle
That's interesting.

By your numbers, Homosexuals would appear to be twenty times more likely to commit acts of paedophilia than Heterosexuals.

This startling statistic is of course is predicated on the fact that molesting little boys is a homosexual act: a man who molests boys is by definition a homosexual. No matter what their self-image is.

But get into conversation with a lefty and suddenly boy-molesting paedophiles magically stop being homosexual, and start becoming members of their own identity group.

17 posted on 07/31/2009 9:39:04 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: Owl_Eagle
"So why aren't 98% of the victims female?"

Because the creepy truth is that pedophiles do not always select targets based on homosexual and heterosexual inclinations. Many tend to select victims for other reasons. They are after something far different than anything on the standard hetero-homo spectrum of understanding sexuality.
18 posted on 07/31/2009 9:49:10 AM PDT by TomOnTheRun
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To: scory

Actually,a certain supreme court justice once declared that the age of consent SHOULD BE lowered to twelve....

-Before she ascended to the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsberg (the left’s favorite justice) declared there was a constitutional right to prostitution and polygamy, and the age of consent should be lowered to 12.-

19 posted on 07/31/2009 10:03:40 AM PDT by massmike (...So this is what happens when OJ's jury elects the president....)
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To: Maelstorm

[cue Moon Zappa talking about her English teacher in her dad Frank’s “Valley Girl”]

20 posted on 07/31/2009 10:07:45 AM PDT by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich! (What'd I say?))
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