A high school English teacher in New Jersey is in trouble after being accused of sending nude pictures to and engaging sexually explicit conversations with a 17-year-old male student.
According to Somerset County Police, 29-year-old Michelina Aichele, of Hillsborough, was arrested October 5 and charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. She’s currently in Somerset County Jail, pending a detention hearing. She has been suspended from her job at Montgomery Township High School (where she makes roughly $70,000 a year) since October 4 – and as we’ve seen before, there’s a good chance it’s a “paid suspension,” pending the outcome of the investigation. Of course, we should be grateful there *is* an investigation, as we also know how many allegations are swept under the rug, instead.
As if it weren’t enough that the victims of sexual assault in schools carry their pain and trauma into adulthood and often for the rest of their lives, school districts often face the payment of huge settlements to try and make up for the placement of a pervert in the classroom.
Cherry Creek School District in Arapahoe County, Colorado, has reached a $11.5 million settlement with five victims of abuse by one Brian Vasquez, a 34-year-old former social studies teacher at Prairie Middle School. He has pled guilty to charges of sexual abuse and attempted sexual abuse, and according to officials, has admitted to sending explicit text messages to all five victims and having sex with at least two of them.
That’s not all: it emerged that one victim attempted, way back in 2013, to report the abuse to school officials, including a principal and counselor, who did nothing with the information. Both were indicted on misdemeanor charges for failing to report the allegations to police. It’s alleged that at the time the victim made the allegations, she was not only forced to recant her statements and apologize to her abuser, but was then suspended from school.
Cherry Creek School District encompasses 65 schools in the Denver/Aurora area. In their budget report they project the per-student spending for the 2018-2019 school year to average about $8,100. The $11.5 million settlement paid to the 5 victims equates to the education budget for over 1400 students within the district. Two million dollars will come from the district’s insurance policy (because, hey, you’ve got to be prepared for things like this, am I right?), and the remaining $9.5 million will come from budget reserves.
Prairie Middle School has received a poor grade of 3/10 from GreatSchools, citing test scores well below the national average and lack of support for lower income children (who make up about 75% of the student body). Parent feedback about the school is mixed.
Vasquez will be sentenced later this week, where he faces up to 40 years in prison. He taught at Prairie Middle School for seven years. Prior to that, he worked in two other Colorado school districts.
Thailand has a reputation as a center for child sex tourism and child prostitution. And that’s exactly where accused pedophile Reynold Buono had been living before his recent return to the United States, where he was then charged with child rape of a former student of his.
Buono, who pled not guilty to the charges, once led the theater department for over 10 years at Milton Academy, which is both a boarding and a day school in Milton, Massachusetts. He left the school in 1987, when he was approximately 43 years old, after acknowledging his molesting of a 14-year-old male student (where were the charges, then?). He’s since been living in Thailand for an undisclosed amount of time (some sources say he relocated to Southeast Asia shortly after leaving Milton Academy). American authorities traveled to Thailand last November, and in cooperation with the Royal Thai Police, arrested Buono and brought him back to the United States to face charges.
A private investigation last year revealed that Buono molested at least 12 male students during his tenure at Milton Academy. An attorney representing 5 of them (no word on if charges have been filed, in their case) said Buono did “incalculable damage” to the lives of these students. Court records filed in the rape case said Milton Academy’s headmaster knew Buono was allegedly abusing students as early as 1982 but let him remain on staff after he spoke to Buono’s psychiatrist. It makes one wonder how many other schools have suppressed information related to their staff’s criminal behavior.
Students at Milton Academy can expect to pay upwards of $60,000 a year to attend this school, which asserts that living on its 125-acre campus allows teens to “study and live in supportive, inclusive academic communities where they learn about independence and responsibility in the classroom and beyond.” I’d say a number of students learned way “beyond” what they bargained for, 30 years ago.
“Although abusive teachers make up only a fraction of 1% of the nation’s teaching corps, USA TODAY found dozens of teachers who lost one job after being accused of abusive behavior and had no trouble getting hired somewhere else.”
We all want to believe “our schools” are different, that it’s only in “other schools” that these things happen. But the truth is that they happen everywhere. Do you want to gamble with your child’s well being, and possibly his life?
Google “girl runs off with…” and watch what word pops up next. Girl runs off with boyfriend? Five thousand dollars? Backpack full of stolen merchandise? Think again.
“Girl runs off with teacher,” is the top suggestion, for the pure reason that the incident mentioned below is most definitely not a unique one.
It is alleged that 50-year-old Tad Cummins, health sciences teacher at Culleoka High School in Culleoka, Tennessee where he’d been working for nearly 6 years, abducted 15-year-old student Elizabeth Thomas, evading authorities for more than a month as they traveled through the country, eventually being apprehended in northern California. Cummins is insistent that this is his first and only offense, which is supposed to endear us to his plight, but should only make us more suspicious of every other seemingly model citizen working in the school system. He says Thomas was in an abusive home, and he was apparently rescuing her. Never mind that he kissed her in school, prior to the abduction. Never mind that he had been married for 31 years (his wife wisely filed for divorce sometime during the abduction – he has two children, girls, it turns out). Never mind that whatever the reason (maybe Thomas asked him to take her with him, maybe she followed him, maybe she threatened him), she was FIFTEEN.
We should be grateful at least, that this particular child predator was an idiot. Cummins attempted to kayak with Thomas from San Diego to Mexico, when he realized the waters were too rough and they were being watched by a law enforcement officer. They elected to remain in California. If they’d made it, who knows if they ever would have been found.
Cummins is being held in federal custody on a charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for sexual intercourse. The charge carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. In Tennessee, Cummins is being charged with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor having sexual contact with a minor.