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#216863 - 04/09/08 07:09 PM Your opinions on this?
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States

Prosecutor: Zeeland teacher's actions "concerning", not criminal

In this story, you will see that a teachers activities are scrupulously questioned by authorities. What I found most interesting is two different extreme positions taken by all the readers as to whether or not this man had ulterior motives, should be fired, etc. Check out these two different extremes after you read the story, and tell us what you think? I'm interested to hear what fellow survivors of sexual abuse think of after reading this. The extreme opinions, one of not immediately judging and condemning, the other saying that he crossed a line, are taken from the comments written by readers of the news column. The first comment really gives me pause.

1. One man's opinion of this situation:

Scenario: Johnny falls during recess and scrapes his knee. His teacher, Mary, finds him crying, and gives him a hug to comfort him.
1968 - Johnny soon feels better and goes back to playing.
2008 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in a federal prison. Johnny undergoes five years of court ordered therapy.

I guess, without interviews with the students on this one...

Are the students he tells he loves, perhaps, not receiving the "love" at home??

Remember the days when a coach could "smack a butt" as a player came off the field, court...???

2. And here is the other opinion of the opposite extreme that stands out for me:

Honestly, I don't. I do not "hug" children that age that are not close friends of the family. My husband would NEVER hug one of my daughters friends, NEVER!!! For this very reason. This not the parent of my child's best friend this a teacher. He needs to keep a professional level and I personally feel he crossed that line.

So, what do you guys think?

#216869 - 04/09/08 07:34 PM Re: Your opinions on this? [Re: Hauser]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
I think thta in this age with everything going on in the media this guy was crossing the line. He had not done anything just yet that would be criminal that we know but I see grooming behavior all over it. With the alcohol issure it is just a matter of time till he found the right victim. IMO

#216929 - 04/10/08 12:32 AM Re: Your opinions on this? [Re: Freedom49]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
The news report said:

The investigation, obtained by 24 Hour News 8 through a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed Oonk would exchange text messages with a student in which he told her he loved her. The student would say the same.

Both Oonk, 48, and the student described it to investigators as a parent-daughter type of relationship, not a physical one. The student did say Oonk kissed her on the forehead and they would give hugs.

Some of the other students interviewed raised questions. One student recalled Oonk saying he wanted to search a student like a police officer does.

A former student said Oonk would talk with her about sexual situations with his wife. That student said she felt Oonk was propositioning her for sex.

Some girls who took private voice lessons at Oonk's home say he made them uncomfortable by using slang references to breasts when talking about where the students should be singing from.

In my book there are a number of inappropriate behaviors by this teacher. I would call some of them "grooming" the students. While they may not cross the threshhold to criminal acts, they were inappropriate and telling a student he "loved" her is way off base.

The illustration of the kid getting hurt and getting a hug from a teacher may confuse the situation. Are we talking about a 7 yr old kid or a 14 yr old?

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#216932 - 04/10/08 12:38 AM Re: Your opinions on this? [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
A 14 year old

But the only reason that I posted that comment from another reader was because, it SEEMS, that ALL IT TAKES, is for someone to post something on myspace about how their teacher "said things" or "touched my back" or whatever, and a meaningful career is easily destroyed.

Again, the prosecutor says that there will be no criminal charges, and yet this guy's face is posted all over the local newspapers. So much for his career you know?

Having read it again, I think the guy was being stupid, even if he was innocent. I don't claim to know either way.

#217006 - 04/10/08 07:09 AM Re: Your opinions on this? [Re: Hauser]
USFbull Offline

Registered: 03/30/08
Posts: 92
Loc: Florida
It seemed like he crossed the line on some occasions. I recall getting hugs from teachers growing up when I scraped my knee and stuff like that, nothing inappropriate about it. I think its inappropriate if it makes the student feel that way. I get what you are saying hauser though. His career was ruined, I constantly refer to this case in St. Augustine a few years back, a whole slew of girls came forward and accused this teacher of touching them inappropriatly, he got a huge jail sentence, after about 4 months most of the girls came forward saying they were just mad because he gave them detenion and that he was innocent. Our justice system is messed up to begin with, but the media doesnt help. Most people know of someone that had sex with a teacher that lives 50 miles away, but doesnt know about the next door neighbor with the child pornography conviction.

Neither fear nor courage saves us.
Unnatural vices Are fathered by our heroism.
Virtues Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
These tears are shaken from
the wrath-bearing tree.
~T.S. Eliot~

#217104 - 04/10/08 08:24 PM Re: Your opinions on this? [Re: Hauser]
reality2k4 Offline

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6845
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
In the good olde golden days, it was possible to make physical contact with a child or children, because you just loved them, and wanted to help them.

In this day and age, we are teaching children not to make contact with adults, unless they are parents or guardians.
It all stems from the failures of authorities to properly identify real abusers.

If they can find a scapegoat to call a sex offender, it kinda makes them look like they can do their job, when all they are doing is convicting the innocent, to make up the numbers,


Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

#217153 - 04/11/08 12:03 AM Re: Your opinions on this? [Re: reality2k4]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

You are so right. When my wife and I had small children in the early 90s we belonged to a babysitting circle here in the UK. Both husbands and wives participated and we didn't give a second thought to leaving our kids in the care of someone just based on the fact that they lived in our neighborhood and were "on the list".

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)


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