Some number of years ago (I was still a State Senator), Delaware passed a law (2007′s SB 29) broadening the use of civil penalties against employers of individuals involved in child sex crimes in Delaware. The State of Delaware was knowingly and purposely left out of that bill by the prime sponsor and others (notably budget writers). As a matter of fact, the prime sponsor looked me in the eye and said that there was never any intention to have the State included in the bill. These individuals were more interested in protecting the State’s budget and going after the Catholic Church than ensuring that all children are entitled to the same protection.
It was wrong at the time and remains wrong today. The headline for this post states exactly why it was and is wrong. Rep. Lavelle has been pushing to remove the State’s exemption since before the passage of the original bill. He continues this fight.
State Rep. Greg Lavelle Asks for Unified
Effort to Decrease Teacher Sex Crimes
– Legislator Asks to Meet with A.G. Biden to Discuss Strategies –
For Immediate Release: January 27, 2012
For More Information, Contact: Joe Fulgham, 302-744-4184
Citing a continuing series of sex crimes committed by Delaware educators, State Rep. Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) is calling for a bipartisan effort to curtail such crimes and punish perpetrators.
In the latest incident, a 38-year-old Sussex Tech teacher was arrested this week on charges he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student.
“There have been more than a dozen Delaware teachers charged in connection with alleged instances of sexual misconduct over the last five years,” Rep. Lavelle said. “As both a parent and a public servant, I find this disturbing on many levels.”
Rep. Lavelle said he is requesting a meeting with State Attorney General Beau Biden to ask for his input on crafting a strategy to reduce crimes of this type. “A.G. Biden is known for his efforts to protect children from sexual crimes and I’d welcome his insights on this issue.”
Lavelle, who is also House Minority Leader, said he has no trouble reaching across the aisle to find a solution to this problem. “There is nothing partisan about this. In my experience, members of both parties are of one mind when it comes to crimes against children.”
In addition to reaching out to the attorney general, Rep. Lavelle said he’d also like to partner with his General Assembly colleagues from both parties to move forward quickly on this. “I also intend to invite the Delaware State Education Association into this discussion,” he said. “When a teacher commits a sex crime against student it not only breaks a public trust, it erodes the collective reputations of all educators. The DSEA has a doubly-vested interest in this issue, not only to protect the children in their members’ charge, but to also safeguard the integrity of their profession.”
Rep. Lavelle said that while increasing penalties is one potential outcome of the process, he is open to other possibilities.
“I do think we need to look at more severe punishment, but that only deals with cases after a crime has occurred and the tragedy has unfolded,” Rep. Lavelle said. “I think there may be other things we can do to prevent these crimes from occurring in the first place. That’s one of the reasons I am encouraging full participation in this process.”
Rep. Lavelle said it is his hope that after meeting with the attorney general, and discussing the matter with his colleagues, legislation can be sent to the governor prior to the end of the current session on June 30th.