What’s with these teachers and coaches?!

Scott Zeigler, Oregon coach charged with sex crimes

I don’t get it.

For the umpteenth time in my 12 years as a reporter, I’ve covered another coach/teacher/teacher’s aide arrested and accused of having sex with an underage student. For 12 years, it’s been different people, same story line. Man in a supervisory role with access to kids abuses that trust and commits sex abuse. Sometimes, it’s a woman. Sometimes, it’s a church. Nearly every time, it is an adult parents have placed their confidence in who winds up violating a sacred boundary.

As reporters, it’s easy to use the word “relationship” to describe these crimes, especially when the timeline of what’s taken place spans one, two, or three years. But isn’t it important to remember what these incidents really are? Neil Goldschmidt taught us that. A grown man doesn’t have a sexual relationship with a minor. He abuses that minor. It’s sex abuse. Let’s not romanticize it.

Arrests like this remind us that the vast majority of molestation doesn’t happen when a stranger grabs your kid off the street. Chances are, you know the abuser. Your kid knows the abuser. The abuser has access to your kid.

The vast majority of teachers, coaches and educators are hard-working, ethical people for whom boundaries aren’t an issue. Sadly, abusers of this trust give other mentors who share their title a bad name.

Let’s celebrate those among us who are the champions of children.

Let’s keep our eyes peeled, our ears tuned to the signs of abuse.

Kids are our most precious investment.

Let’s protect them as such.

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