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#340966 - 09/27/10 07:36 PM Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1245
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Of course he was severely inappropriate, especially as a teacher's aide, and of course should be face some kind of punishment... but 14 years in prison for love letters? What do you think?

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/bs-md-ho-abuse-letters-case-20100924,0,4722026.story

Former Columbia teacher's aide found guilty of child sex abuse

Case sets Md. precedent for conviction without evidence of inappropriate physical act

A 38-year-old Columbia teacher's aide was found guilty Friday of sexually abusing a third-grader by writing her dozens of explicit love letters, setting a new precedent in Maryland for a sex crime conviction without evidence of inappropriate physical contact.

Howard County Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure ruled that Karl Marshall Walker Jr., who worked at Bryant Woods Elementary School for three years, sexually exploited an 8-year-old girl by giving her notes that spoke of his passion for her, his desire to kiss her and his request that she keep their correspondence secret.

"Sexual acts are not only limited to physical acts," Leasure said. "The totality of these letters, the hugging and the hand-holding were exploitative."

Leasure cited notes that read: "When you hug me tight, it's the best part of my day"; "I don't think perverted thoughts about you, I just care about you"; "tear this up after you read it, tear the other notes too"; "I am sad because I really love you and I am not supposed to"; and "I do think about kissing you sometimes."
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Leasure noted that the content of the notes, which began in late 2009 and ended when the abuse was discovered in March, became more "passionate" as time progressed. She said that the notes "did border on being obsessive" and that they were "sexual in nature."

The judge's decision is the first in Maryland to convict a predator based on letters. The state's child abuse statute says that someone can be convicted of child abuse if "molestation or exploitation" occurs and "whether physical injuries are sustained or not."

In handing down her decision, Leasure noted that "exploitation itself is not defined in the statute."

Howard County State's Attorney Dario Broccolino said the decision was "right on the money." He said his office received criticism for pursuing the case even though Walker never touched the girl in a sexual way, and some critics called his office "the thought police."

He said the letters were undoubtedly sexual and that the sexual abuse statute "relies on reasonable judges, reasonable prosecutors."

"It wasn't a difficult case; it was just a different case to prove," Broccolino said after the verdict. "It wasn't that complicated of a case in truth; the key ... was the victim keeping the letters."

Walker and his attorney, Lou Willemin, declined to comment. Broccolino said he expects Walker will appeal the decision, but he is confident the outcome will be in the state's favor.

Lisae C. Jordan, general counsel at the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, agreed that Walker was guilty of sexually abusing the student.

"Typically, people who molest children start with a grooming phase where they test whether the child can keep a secret and how the child is going to respond, and then over time, they move closer to the sexual acts that they want to perform on the child," Jordan said. "This is a teacher's aide that seems to be well down that path, [and] I really appreciate that the prosecutor recognized that."

She added: "The interpretation of the statue is a reasonable one. That's what these laws are designed to protect children from the inappropriate attempts of contact."

But other advocates for victims of abuse worry that the decision could intimidate teachers. Krista McKee, the director of the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, is one such advocate.

"Where are the lines going to be drawn when teachers are trying to communicate? What are the consequences to finding a guilty verdict on something that's written?" McKee wondered. "He was inappropriate, he definitely crossed lines, but I am not quite sure [it was sexual child abuse]."

Broccolino said the decision "is not after" teachers showing reasonable affection to their students.

According to sentencing guidelines, Walker could face up to 14 years in prison. Leasure set a sentencing date in January. Walker has been placed on supervised probation pending his sentencing.

Leasure ordered Walker not to have contact with children younger than 18, though she allowed an exception for his sons, an infant and a 10-year-old.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Walker's fantasies became an 8-year-old girl's reality," Leasure said as she handed down the guilty verdict. "He unjustly and improperly used her for his own benefit."

kwoodhouse@patuxent.com

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#340970 - 09/27/10 08:15 PM Re: Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse [Re: AndyJB2005]
kidneythis Offline


Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1558
Krista McKee, the director of the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, is one such advocate.

"Where are the lines going to be drawn when teachers are trying to communicate? What are the consequences to finding a guilty verdict on something that's written?" McKee wondered. "He was inappropriate, he definitely crossed lines, but I am not quite sure [it was sexual child abuse]."

I feel sorry for anyone who may have to rely upon this woman for help. How is it she is this dumb? "What are the consequences to finding a guilty verdict on something that's written?" Can she possibly be serious? The LINE (singular) is drawn at sexual contact, verbal or otherwise. Her not comprehending this is sexual abuse is a pretty big deal to me. Besides this remark is rather stupid ransom notes, notes to rob banks, and so on are written things that are used to convict. She's out there.

The sentence of 14 years is not enough. this guy groomed her for half a year and was escalating. These things are only going to loom larger for this poor girl as she matures and goes through puberty and comes to realize the full import of what this guy was up to. Right now she's just confused about things and knows because of what she's been told it was wrong without full comprehension of the lust he was motivated by.
It's sickening to write that.

EDIT
I should say that victim impact is not the only factor in sentencing, I just pointed to it because it's so close to me. There are standards for sentencing that take the emotionalism of the victim out of the calculation.



Edited by kidneythis (09/27/10 08:19 PM)
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#340972 - 09/27/10 08:32 PM Re: Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse [Re: kidneythis]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1245
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
I think he should be held legally responsible, but you sometimes don't get 14 years for the charge of MURDER or ARMED ROBBERY, and they're telling me he should get 14 for non-physical abuse aka love letters?

I know this is close to us, but let's not over-react. Will she really get PTSD from a guy saying (in written form) he wants to hold her hand?

I hope courts use a lot more than emotion to convict and sentence people.

In law it's what you DID do, not what you COULD'VE done and how much the world hates you. Thank God.

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Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#340976 - 09/27/10 10:06 PM Re: Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse [Re: AndyJB2005]
kidneythis Offline


Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1558
He didn't say he wanted to hold her hand. He did in fact sit with her holding her hand. The guy did write "sexual in nature" notes to her. He was grooming her, something the article describes very well. He did groom her and write her sexually explicit notes.
I think I said they do use non-emotional means to determine sentencing. And besides that 14 years is the max possible, he hasn't yet been sentenced.
One does not compare what someone else got for another crime to the crime at hand. (Murder is less henious than soul murder which sexual abuse is) If those sentences you describe are real there was a mistake there.

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As Mark Twain once quipped, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

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#341010 - 09/28/10 11:48 AM Re: Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse [Re: kidneythis]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11174
Loc: Denver, CO
Page 51 of Dr Dan Allender's book The Wounded Heart outlines varieties of sexual abuse, both contact and non-contact. This teacher's aide definitely crossed boundaries. Agreeably, 14 years sounds rather severe.

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#341309 - 10/02/10 10:33 AM Re: Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse [Re: FormerTexan]
kidneythis Offline


Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1558
What I don't understand is those who jump in to defend him and say 14 years is too much. Then they make statements which indicate they have not read the article. I saw this on a newspaper site and it had comments about how he wasn't being treated fair!
Very frustrating to know the level of ignorance of the impact of emotional events on a child let alone perverse emotional events.

_________________________
As Mark Twain once quipped, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

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#342312 - 10/17/10 09:07 AM Re: Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse [Re: kidneythis]
AngryA$$hole Offline


Registered: 10/17/10
Posts: 7
Child abuse is MURDER - Soul Murder!

14 years sounds about wrong. He deserved more. The fact is more than likely, he hadn't had the opportunity to abuse this little girl, or he was still grooming her.

The letters were certainly inappropriate, but this is a good story of saving a child before he/she becomes victim.

What should we do? Wait until he abuses 15 children before we decide he's a threat to society?

I can only ever wish that someone had intervened in the activities of a Catholic priest who abused me for several years. His list of inappropriate infringements upon little boys was long and distingushed. He had been removed from one school or church and another, 6 times before I even came in contact with the man. SIX TIMES for inappropriate sexual contact toward young boys; pre-adolescents and teenagers.

If only he were doing 15-30 in a Maximum Secuirity Prison, perhaps I wouldn't be so devastated today.

The victims need to be considered first. Fuck the perpatrators!


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#344512 - 11/08/10 07:41 PM Re: Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse [Re: AngryA$$hole]
melliferal Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
14 years is just crazy. Perps don't even get that much time for actually molesting children. I don't know what the heck was going on this judge's mind - maybe the upcoming election.



Edited by melliferal (11/08/10 07:42 PM)
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#344538 - 11/09/10 12:22 AM Re: Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse [Re: melliferal]
MrEdd Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 317
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: melliferal
14 years is just crazy. Perps don't even get that much time for actually molesting children. I don't know what the heck was going on this judge's mind - maybe the upcoming election.


Odd how crimes against children usually only merit serious jailtime right before elections.

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#344574 - 11/09/10 10:39 AM Re: Former Columbia teacher aide found guilty of abuse [Re: MrEdd]
ComicBookGuy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/09
Posts: 443
Loc: London, England
Put it this way if it was going to be never anything more than love letters then it's excessive but that's never how a teacher thinks when they have a crush on student that they're targeting and grooming, is it? "Love letters" to an 8 year old? Jail!

Later on down the line abuse would have happened and all of us would have been saying "why didn't the courts do something sooner?" Well in this case, they have. It's tough on his own kids whatever the sentence.

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