Articles Posted in Failure to report

The Boston Globe reports that a veteran Foxborough police detective has been assigned the full-time job of looking into the town’s past to see how a former teacher and Boy Scout leader was able to sexually abuse dozens of children over decades.

At least 28 men have come forward since September to accuse William E. Sheehan, 74, of rape and sexual abuse between 1961, when he began teaching, and 1981, when he left town for a job in Florida. A handful of men say they also reported the alleged abuse to Foxborough police in 1998.

Some of the men came forward at an emotional meeting of the Foxborough Board of Selectmen Tuesday night to tell their stories, as many in the audience cried openly.

A judge overseeing a lawsuit brought by the family of a California boy molested by his troop leader in 2007 has ordered the Boy Scouts of America to hand over confidential files detailing allegations of sexual abuse by Scout leaders around the nation.

The Associated Press reports on an LA TImes story that the Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge ruled that the Scouts must turn over the last 20 years’ worth of records by Feb. 24, with victims’ names removed. The files will not be made public.

Known as “ineligible volunteer files,” the documents have been maintained since the 1920s and are intended to keep suspected molesters and others accused of misconduct out of Scouting. Scouts officials have resisted releasing them and won’t discuss their contents, citing the privacy rights of victims and the fact that many files are based on unproven allegations. Other lawyers in other cases have occasionally succeeded in persuading court to order the Scouts to produce the files. I have personally been involved in litigation against the Scouts where the “ineligible volunteer files” were a contentious issue, and we were able to obtain some Massachusetts-related files from a confidential source.

The Boston Globe reports that New England Conservatory officials said they have received no complaints from students or alumni about a convicted sex offender hired by renowned conductor Benjamin Zander to make videos over the past decade.

Karen Schwartzman, a spokeswoman for the conservatory, would not confirm that Zander had been fired, but she said in a phone interview that his departure was warranted.

Zander believed Peter Benjamin was remorseful and determined to turn his life around.

The Boston Globe reports that the principal of the King K-8 School in Dorchester never alerted state authorities that a teacher’s aide may have had inappropriate contact with a student last spring.

Massachusetts law requires school employees to report suspicions of child abuse to the state Department of Children and Families, but that law may provide some leeway. According to an informational pamphlet produced by the agency, professionals should immediately report cases when they “have reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of 18 years is suffering from abuse and/or neglect.”

Whether this case rises to that “reasonable cause” standard is the point of a review ordered by School Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. She has asked her staff to determine whether the King principal followed proper protocols in investigating the concern and in deciding not to file a report to the state.