Sexual abuse of children needs to be punished harshly - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

Sexual abuse of children needs to be punished harshly

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Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler.

Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 3:30 am | Updated: 3:08 pm, Wed Feb 23, 2011.

It seems like every time I open up the paper, turn on the television or log onto the internet, I learn about another child who has been sexually abused by an adult. It’s gotten so bad that recently I read about a former sex offender counselor from Mesa who plead guilty to four counts of sexually-related offenses with a 13-year-old girl and unlawful administration of a narcotic drug. To make matters worse, the girl’s mother plead guilty to similar charges after reportedly taking photos of the sex acts while her daughter was dosed with sleeping pills.

Are you kidding me? This guy is supposed to be part of the solution, not the problem. And what’s going on with Mom anyhow?

A few days earlier, I read about a 51-year-old science teacher in the Higley Unified School District who was accused of inappropriately touching two female students, ages 13 and 14. The teacher has resigned. This incident was preceded a few days earlier by a 32-year-old gym teacher at St. Gregory’s Catholic School in Phoenix who has admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. The gym teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

Are you aware that since 1998, nearly 60 teachers from East Valley schools alone have surrendered their teaching certifications or had them revoked from the state Board of Education because of sexually inappropriate relationships with students? Currently, there are 199 teachers under investigation by the State Board of Education who stand accused of sexually-related misconduct.

I thought closed campuses were intended to keep the bad guys out? Now it appears that we may be locking a good number of sexual predators inside of our schools. It’s sort of like locking the door on the hen house with the coyotes inside.

Maybe we need to seriously re-evaluate the way we screen candidates for teaching positions. There must be technology available to detect this sickness. Possibly, we need to expand the use of video cameras in our public schools. How about taking out some walls so that there are only three versus four?

This problem appears to be getting worse instead of better.

But let’s face it, the sexual abuse of our children isn’t limited by any means to our schools. This problem permeates our society. Think of the number of abuses that are never reported due to fear of retribution or ignorance. It’s a sickness and it must stopped.

When an adult sexually molests a child, that adult has murdered the child’s innocence. Maybe if we upped the ante on the consequences of sexually abusing a child we could begin to cut down on the number and frequency of incidences. Possibly, instead of simply providing counseling, jail time and probation, we should be talking about chemically castrating these perverts so they can’t prey upon our children ever again.

I don’t about you, but I’m mad as hell and I want to do something about it. 

Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler

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