April 9, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Just this past week I commented on an article by Terry Brennan in The Daily Caller. As usual, Brennan’s piece was well thought-out and fact-based. I quibbled with the notion that a “male role model” is a substitute for a father, but agreed that, in the absence of a father, a child needs some male figure in his/her life and, well, something’s better than nothing.
But I also pointed out that schools may not be a reliable source of those male role models. That’s because, among other things, over 80% of primary school teachers are women and there appear to be fewer and fewer men stepping into those positions. Part of that is explained by the fact that teaching children can be, for a man, a dangerous career choice. I pointed out that, in Canada, some 19% of male primary school teachers report having been the target of false child abuse charges. No one in his right mind wants to have that sign hung on his back.
And now, as luck would have it, we have this from New Zealand (Stuff, 4/6/18). A male middle school teacher who’d taught for 40 years and been at the same school for 27 was summarily fired last year. He was dismissed because he’d angered three students. They were angry because he’d called them down for misbehaving in class.
So they decided to destroy his career. They succeeded. They did so by falsely claiming he’d sexually molested three of the girls in his class. He was immediately fired and charged criminally.
The teacher, whose name is suppressed, was on trial for seven charges of indecent assault at his Auckland school.
The Crown case was that the teacher inappropriately touched three girls in his class, each aged 11 years.
"The defendant stroked the students' hair in an indecent manner, swiped his hand over the chest area of two of the victims and grabbed the breasts of another victim," prosecutor Jo Murdoch said.
But during cross-examination by defence lawyer Marc Corlett QC one of the girls admitted she had lied about part of what she had told police. She continued to state the teacher had touched her, but she said she had lied about seeing the teacher assault any other student.
"My friend told me that she got touched and I pretended to believe her," she said.
A boy who claimed he witnessed the indecencies said there had been a plan to get the teacher fired.
The man had to hire a lawyer and spent six days in trial despite the fact that, as his lawyer said afterwards,
"It was obvious from the video interviews that were conducted by the police of two of the complainants and two so-called 'eye-witnesses' that their stories were hopelessly vague, inconsistent and implausible.
"They were irreconcilable with each other," Corlett said.
The jury took less than an hour to find the teacher not guilty on all charges.
When a jury takes less than an hour to find a defendant not guilty on each of seven charges, we know the prosecution’s case was weak to the point of non-existence. That of course raises the question of why it was brought in the first place. After all, the prosecutor watched the same video the defendant’s attorney did. He/she knew as well that the children’s statements were “hopelessly vague, inconsistent and implausible,” and “irreconcilable with each other.”
And yet the prosecution went forward, costing the man months of joblessness and fear of conviction, to say nothing of the money he was forced to pay his lawyer.
The teacher, speaking after he was cleared of the charges, said his dismissal and the months since had been his worst nightmare.
"After 40 years as a teacher, and 27 years at this school I was dismissed within a few days of the allegations being made - allegations which have now been shown to be false, and deliberately made to get me fired," he said.
He said it had been a "terrible ordeal" despite having support from family and friends.
"It was devastating to sit in the dock while listening to one complainant admit she had lied, while another one admitted there was a plan to make up stories to get me fired.
"Their plan worked. I now have to try put back together the pieces of my life."
Meanwhile, the children seem to have received no punishment from anyone. Yes, they broke the law and probably violated school rules as well. But if there’s any adult who’s finding fault with their behavior, it’s nowhere mentioned.
And school officials seem to be taking the attitude that the man must have done something wrong and so his career is still in jeopardy.
The school's principal and board of the trustees chairman would not comment on questions put to them about the teacher or the investigation.
As former U.S. Secretary of Labor Raymond Donovan said after having been falsely accused of criminal wrongdoing and smeared in the press, “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” I’m sure the Auckland teacher could ask the same question, plus “Where do I go to get my salary and attorney’s fees back?” And, as with Donovan, he’ll receive no answer, because there is none.
This is the system we’ve embraced in which all those who claim to have been abused (particularly sexually) are to be believed regardless of obvious deficiencies in their allegations, often enough without evidence of any kind. And if prosecutors violate their oath requiring them to see justice done, then so be it. If lives are ruined, then so be it. If the course of justice is perverted, then so be it.
Even children now understand the power this gives them. Even they understand their ability to recruit the power of the state on their behalf that’s more than enough to destroy the life of a person whom they, in the offhand manner of children, decide they don’t like. And our unwillingness to punish their outrageous, morally and legally wrong behavior only ensures that we’ll get more of the same.
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