The Los Angeles Unified School District has been ordered to pay some $1.6 million to families of three girls who were molested by a teacher’s aide, a man named Ricardo Guevara. The man is now incarcerated and will spend the next 15 years in jail for lewd acts with a child.
What is incredibly difficult to understand is that the jury and the public were never told that this was actually the third set of accusations that were brought against this man. In two other incidents, he was accused of such crimes and yet, due to a lack of evidence, no charges were pressed and even worse, the man was placed back into the classrooms.
The L.A. Times states that over the years, this is a pattern that the school district has had. There have been other instances, other cases, in which sexual misconduct complaints were brought to the attention of the school district in regards to employees. But, the claims were dropped and the individuals ended up in other schools. In one such instance, the new principal did not know of the background of Guevara.
The evidence is striking. In one instance, a school teacher was accused of molesting a 4th grade student in 2001. Prosecutors declined the case and the man was transferred to another school. He repeated the action and in 2004 was sentenced to six years in jail.
In another instance, an elementary teacher was accused of misconduct for insisting that a child sit on his lap and pose for a camera. The case was brought before the police who told the school to handle it administratively and they did by just telling the man to stop. Later, he pleaded no contest to sexual abuse of a child and will spend 16 years in prison for it.
The problem with these cases is that the legal system does not believe there is enough evidence to pursue legal action. More so, the only evidence comes from frightened children who are often too scared to talk. Many believe, though, the schools should err on the side of safety for the child, rather than protecting the teacher.