Remember back in December of 2013, when I became aware that the full, un-redacted Findings of Fact and Order on Revocation of my abuser’s teaching certificate had been posted online, containing full names of the victims?
Remember how I had to call the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and demand that they take it down, and leave it down, until it was properly redacted?
Remember my outrage at how his victims were re-victimized by being publicly and digitally linked to him through a short Google search?
Remember my celebration at the small victory when it was taken down?
Imagine my surprise when, on December 4th of 2014 — almost an entire year later — it came to my attention that the document was back online, and only PARTIALLY redacted. Unbelievably, it still contained the full names of a handful of minor victims.
So, I contacted OSPI… AGAIN.
Here’s how it all went down, in a nutshell:
1. In 1985-86, at least two classmates and I were molested by our teacher in the Manson School District.
2. In 1991, we — along with several other victims — were a part of an investigation by OSPI. As it turns out, the first reported sexual abuse dated back to 1977 with this particular teacher, and there were dozens of victims. No one seems to know why he was allowed to continue to teach for all those years, since he was counseled by the administration on several occasions about his actions, but… I digress.
3. After lengthy appeals, he finally had his certificate revoked in 2001.
4. Media reports indicate that Chelan County Sheriff’s Office looked into at least some of the incidents, but prosecutors declined to — ahem — prosecute, which is what I think they’re supposed to do? Anyway, this former teacher doesn’t have to register as a sex offender.
5. In December of 2013, I learned that the final order on this teacher’s revocation was posted — and had been for years — on the OSPI website. It was un-redacted, and contained the full names of minor victims. NOT COOL.
6. I (along with a sister survivor) contacted OSPI and demanded that the document be removed, as it did not follow protocol for protecting the identities of minor victims.
7. After a brief and condescending objection from the OSPI employee I spoke with (She wanted to know exactly WHO I was, and WHAT my interest was in the case — I told her I was a victim, and a blogger, and she demanded to know my name, which is already in their file from my Public Records Request, and my blog address. I told her I’m Google-able, since I’m an author, and I’m sure she’d be able to locate the blog without my help. She wasn’t pleased.), I was assured it would be removed. It eventually was.
8. Almost a full year later to the day, in December of 2014, I learned the document had returned to the website, and was only partially redacted, so several of the minor victims’ names remained. OUTRAGE!
9. I called OSPI — again — and spoke with a man who wanted to challenge whether or not the victims — described as fifth-, sixth-, and eighth-graders — were “ACTUALLY MINORS” at the time. Ummmm… Yeah. I’m pretty sure they were. After a heated discussion (and me saying, “Are you kidding me?!” more than once), he left me a voicemail stating it would be taken down again. It was.
10. Then, I contacted both Congressman Dave Reichert’s office, and state Representative Cary Condotta’s, to ask them both to look into what federal and state statutes are in place to prevent the publication of minor victims. Their respective legislative assistants are awesome, by the way.
11. On December 10, 2014, I got a call from Representative Condotta’s assistant, telling me he’d been in contact with the lead for Professional Standards at OSPI, and not only are they making darn sure this time the document would be properly taken care of, but they are ALSO hiring a legal assistant specifically for the purpose of reviewing all the existing documents which also may be effected by the clearly lame oversight at OSPI.
I’ve held onto this post for a while, to ensure that when the document was reposted, it was done so with the proper redactions. I see that it has been, so…
Please join me in celebrating a small victory for the privacy of minor victims of sex abuse in Washington state, for the second — and I hope LAST — time.