As reported in The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 20, 2014, a Delaware County school teacher named Edgar Friedrichs was allowed to quietly resign when he was alleged to have molested and raped his students. He received a fair recommendation from his school, Interboro School District, which did not advise that he had resigned because of allegations of sexual abuse or mention anything regarding the sexual abuse claims. Using that recommendation, he landed another teaching job in Fayette County, West Virginia, eventually becoming the principal of an elementary school. In 1997 a 12 year old boy was found dead in Friedrichs’ cabin during a fishing trip. Ultimately he was convicted of this young boy’s murder as well as the sexual abuse of two of his other students in West Virginia.
Jacobs & Crumplar recently filed suit on behalf of a student victim of sexual abuse, against Smyrna School District and Donovan Garvin, the victim’s former teacher. Garvin was arrested and charged with ten counts of first degree sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust and one count of sexual solicitation of a child under the age of 18 to engage in a prohibited act. Garvin pled guilty to sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust or authority, first degree, in the Superior Court for the State of Delaware in and for Kent County. During Garvin’s sentencing on August 28, 2013 the deputy attorney general informed the Court that Garvin was let go by other school districts for other allegations of inappropriate sexual contact with students.
We have to ensure that teachers who sexually abuse students are not allowed to simply escape to a new location and continue abusing students. We support even stronger laws regarding background and reference checks for teachers. It is usually the administrators who do reference checks and they need to do a better job!