Wait…is that a CHILD’S hand?
Today, in a scathing editorial, the Washington Post related the shocking story of the firing of Daniel Picca, a Montgomery County, Maryland elementary school teacher who was suspected by school officials of having inappropriate relations with male students since at least 1995. This was, said the Post, ” a stinging indictment of a school bureaucracy that for almost two decades believed it had a problem but reacted with a seemingly endless flow of ineffective warnings, letters, reprimands and — most appalling — reassignments of the teacher to other schools and other students.” Montgomery County, it should be noted, boasts of one of the finest public school systems in the nation….or so we have been told.
Picca, as was detailed by a hearing examiner in 2010 and by an administrative law judge this year, had been warned for 17 years about his conduct with young boys, including inappropriate touching, having students sit on his lap, “wrestling” with the boys and inviting some to an extracurricular “Strong Boys Club” of his own invention, where he encouraged male students to remove their shirts, according to student testimony. In 1995, county child protective services said that Picca was responsible for “indicated child abuse.”The school system now says it missed this, somehow—not that it didn’t have plenty of evidence already. Continue reading
All the News That’s Fit..oh, the hell with it.
From an editor’s note to the New York Times article, “Last Call for College Bars,” which originally ran on September 26:
“An article on Thursday described the effect of social media use on the bar scene in several college towns, including the area around Cornell. After the article was published, questions were raised by the blog IvyGate about the identities of six Cornell students quoted in the article or shown in an accompanying photo. None of the names provided by those students to a reporter and photographer for The Times — Michelle Guida, Vanessa Gilen, Tracy O’Hara, John Montana, David Lieberman and Ben Johnson — match listings in the Cornell student directory, and The Times has not subsequently been able to contact anyone by those names. The Times should have worked to verify the students’ identities independently before quoting or picturing them for the article.”
Think about this the next time you read a Times story from an anonymous source. Continue reading
The Rich Central High principal suspected something was amiss with the girls’ basketball coach when the team members began to act strangely…
A provocative variation on the “naked teacher” scenario has surfaced in Chicago suburb Olympia Fields. Bryan Craig was a guidance counselor and girls’ basketball coach at Rich Central High School until his self-published book “It’s Her Fault” came to the attention of parents and school administrators. Then he was placed on administrative leave, and finally, fired. The book is for mature audiences only, and based on reports (I haven’t read it and have no intention of doing so) includes pick-up advice, analysis of female body types (including a discussion of the varying colors and temperature levels of the vaginas of various races, apparently the book’s highlight) and Craig’s insight into how women think, a perspective that appears to be muddled at best and sexist at worst. Here is a passage from the book (in an Amazon reader’s review—a favorable one, and from a teenage stripper):
“In some cases, strippers and dancers show the overall dominance a woman can have over a man. Not to say that stripping is what has to be done to truly establish dominance, but these women’s mind-set is in the right place in order to meet the true potential of the point of this book.” Continue reading
“…We really messed up. And we’re all very sorry. That didn’t belong on TV. We took every precaution we knew how to take to keep that from being on TV. And I personally apologize to you that that happened. Sometimes we see a lot of things that we don’t let get to you – because it’s not time appropriate, it’s insensitive, and it’s just wrong. And that was wrong. And that won’t happen again on my watch and I’m sorry.”
—-Shepard Smith, Fox New Anchor, in his immediate apology to viewers after a live police chase Fox News had been showing to viewers ended with the pursued car’s driver suddenly committing suicide with a pistol shot to the head. Apparently the network had gone to a 5 second delay in the eventuality of such a development, but technicians still failed to stop the feed in time.
“CUT AWAY! CUT AWAY!!”
Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV. Those of us who saw the twin towers fall saw 3000 souls die as it happened. I understand Smith apologizing pro forma for an unexpected moment of violence, but the statement,
“Sometimes we see a lot of things that we don’t let get to you…”
…is troubling. Continue reading
“Your Honor! I object!”
Sarah Naughton, for 8 years a Cook County (Chicago) prosecutor, was arrested and charged after she and a male companion caused a disturbance in an adult store when they were asked to leave ( they appear to have been bombed). After banging on the windows and calling out obscenities, the two got in a tussle with the store’s employees, and Sarah allegedly bit one of them on the leg. She also apparently pulled the infamous, “Do you know who I am?” card, to which I guess I would have answered, “Lindsay Lohan?”
Here is video of the aftermath: the prosecutor is the one wailing and insulting the officers as she sits handcuffed on the pavement.
She has been placed on administrative leave for now.
I know: we all have our bad days and nights, and some of us don’t handle liquor very well. Naughton apparently hasn’t done anything like this before; on the other hand, her conduct does not exactly burnish the reputation of Chicago Law enforcement. Your Ethics Quiz, as we head into an ethically challenging weekend (as they all are):
Does this unfortunate private behavior in this one incident show that she lacks sufficient trustworthiness and professionalism to represent the Cook County prosecutor’s office? Continue reading
More than a week ago, one of my blogging, legal, ethics idols, Ken at Popehat, took issue with my post stating that the midnight questioning of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (the alleged producer of “Innocence of Muslims,” the crude anti-Islam film then being blamed by the Obama administration for all the violence that erupted in the Middle East on September 11) would appear both abroad and at home to be in retaliation for his exercise of his free speech rights, and should have been avoided even if it was otherwise justified by his parole violations. Ken wrote:
“…What separates us from the mob is the rule of law. We shouldn’t ignore the rule of law by violating First Amendment principles in what Eugene Volokh correctly points out would be an utterly vain attempt to appease a mob. On the other hand, we shouldn’t hinder the rule of law to avoid the appearance of appeasement, either. That’s still letting the mob dictate our actions and our adherence to our own laws. “We would normally do X, but we mustn’t because it might enrage the mob” is just the flip side of “We would normally do X, but we mustn’t because it might embolden the mob.” Both are a sucker’s game. The mob’s actions are going to be driven by its own culture and by the people manipulating the mob for their own political gain. Jack, and others, seem to be saying that the mob will misunderstand the orderly administration of the law in this instance: but is there really any chance that the mob will ever make an honest attempt to understand, or will care, or that the forces manipulating them will react honestly? Respect the rule of law and fuck ‘em if they don’t like it.”
On this blog, commenter tgt was more succinct:
“Jack’s view of law is that if you are enough of a dick, you should be immune from prosecution for any action.” Continue reading
Oh yeah? Well this guy is a ROMNEY supporter!
As evidence grows that the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention may have been practicing law in Massachusetts—the state she seeks to represent in the U.S. Senate—without proper legal authorization, the description of the matter in the mainstream media, to the extent that it is mentioned at all, is that “the conservative blogosphere” is making the accusation. This ritual drives me to distraction, as readers of Ethics Alarms know. But if conservatives want to be given more respect when they uncover a legitimate story that the biased media will try to ignore or bury, they have to stop indulging themselves in utter garbage like this. Continue reading