New York State Education Department Part 83 Hearing In the Matter of Certificate held by James F. Murray A Case Study 1.8 NYCRR §83 / OSPRA overview Part 83 case, James F. Murray overview Reluctant witness
Dr. Charole Shakeshaft, Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Educational Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of a congressionally mandated study titled, Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature 2004
Educator sexual grooming, Dr. Shakeshaft explains, is a process whereby an educator selects a student, gives the student attention and rewards, provides the student with support and understanding, all the while slowly increasing the amount of touch or other inappropriate behavior. The purpose of grooming is to test the child’s ability to maintain secrecy, to desensitize the child through progressive inappropriate behaviors, to provide the child with experiences that are valuable and that the child won’t want to lose, to learn information that will discredit the child, and to gain approval from parents.
Grooming often takes place in the context of providing a child with extras like additional help with sports or with learning a musical instrument, advisement on a science project, or opportunities for camping and outdoor activity. These opportunities not only create a special relationship with students, they are also ones for which parents are usually appreciative.
Most such manipulators work very hard to keep their victims from telling others. This is not as hard for the perpetrator to accomplish as it may seem. For one thing, children who are being manipulated are the last ones to know, also children who are engaging in sexual contact with teachers often don't recognize what is happening as abuse. In many cases, says the report, they are told that what is happening is love. Many abusers of children at all ages couch what they are doing to the children as love, both romantic and parental."
Other techniques for keeping children quiet, says Shakeshaft, are intimidation and threats (if you tell, I’ll fail you), exploiting the power structure (if you tell, no one will believe you) and manipulating the child’s affections (if you tell, I’ll get in trouble; if you tell, I won’t be able to be your friend anymore). Since kids typically get something out of the relationship – everything from attention and gifts to physical pleasure and a feeling of belonging – they can easily be made to feel responsible, something offenders use to their advantage.
Examples of Educator Grooming
Cards; Letters; Notes
Gifts; Stuffed animals; candles; handmade
Money, credit card
Teachers chair, desk, closet
Telephone/cell phone card/minutes, text, TracPhone
Late night calls, during school hours, outgoing vs incoming
Computer contact, e-mail; IM; My Space; Twitter
Visits to house, apartment
Rides, car, stickshift, driving lessons, socializing outside of school
Private lessons, babysit; paid?, barter?
Classroom, alone, extra help, sit at teacher desk, free time in office or classroom
Private discussions; feelings; boyfriends; parents; wife/sex, troubled marriage
Mall; clothes; chocolate; perfume; shoes, jewelry
Meals, restaurant, movie; drive-in, picnic, boat; beach; amusement park
Visiting student at her job, invitations to teacher’s home
“friends” with parents, big brother relationship, like an Uncle
Hanging out, special relationship, extra attention without educational reason
Confidant, counselor, mentor, father figure, boyfriend advisor
Hall passes, copying, grading, helping, office, closed doors, helper
Music; CD’s; special songs
Jokes, off-color humor
Graduation gift, sign yearbook
Physical contact; touch; games; massage, tickle
Hugs, gentle touching, questionable/accidental physical contact, hair twirling
Soul mate; talk about anything; romantic
private matters discussions, wife, sex, troubles, flirting
Convincing student that she is more mature, convince to be more grown-up
Most beautiful, can’t resist her beauty
Pedestal, make feel special, grades/awards not earned
Isolate; friends, boyfriends, parents
School trips, hotel
Cemetery, hidden locations
Secrecy, no one can know; could lose job,
Destroy evidence, delete e-mails, throw away letters/notes,
Talks bad about other teachers/administrators
Partying exploits, drinking stories, selling self as someone to be admired
Teacher of the Year, Charming, the cool teacher,
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 15:19:12 -0500
There are so many things I want to say to you but I don’t know if they,
are appropriate or if they matter anymore. The thought of you being with a
boy here in school for me to watch, is really bothering me - - -sorry. There
is so much I have not done for you - - - in all ways . . .
Last night was the longest night in some time. I couldn’t eat sleep
think . . . obviously I could cry . . . lol
I will miss you, especially if things have to change . . . I just wanted to
share some things with you so badly and I thought we were progressing.
I can not believe I love you like this . . . I know that is why it hurts so
much. This is now twice in my life I found myself so attracted to and a heart
full of love for a woman and unable to do anything about it.
I apologize if I have ever put in a situation you weren’t comfortable
with or I have said things to offend you. Hope you know I would never do
anything to hurt you.
I could go on forever . . . I am not ready to leave us - - - this
situation "big sigh" . . .
PS I hope you still think about the offer . . . lol