Sexual abuse cover-ups: A large problem in small-town America

May 6, 2014

Small-town America could be at similar risk

May 6, 2014

Summary: A small city is outraged following their school district’s decision to retain three school administrators arrested and charged with failure to report child abuse.  This could be an issue in your hometown too.

Residents of the small town of Darien, GA are furious with the McIntosh School District in the wake of an ongoing child sexual abuse scandal that rocked the small county two months ago.  A female teacher is charged with having sex with three male students, and three administrators in the McIntosh School district have since been arrested for failing to report the incidents to the police.  That is not the part that has these people pissed; it’s the fallout since then that has outraged this small city.  After the release of the school district’s superintendent, assistant superintendent and the school’s principal – each arrested in connection to failing to report the sexual abuse, and one faces a felony charge for making a false statement  – the school board held an emergency meeting to determine the immediate fate of the administrators.

In that meeting, the motion to suspend all three administrators came forth – but NOBODY seconded the motion…meaning these abject failures get to keep their jobs.  Shoot, it’s no wonder the city is angry with the school district.  Now, look at this quote from one of the board members, “If they’re guilty, they’re guilty.  If they’re not, they’re not.” Could the school board show any more apathy at this point?  It seems to me that the only reason these administrators got to keep their jobs was because of their tenure and stature within the school district.  To that point, a retired family and children services worker called it a sham to allow these officials to remain on the job, stating she “wanted to see an appropriate execution of action.  This good old boy system has been going on too long.  It needs to be changed.”

In what other job can somebody fail to protect their people and expect to have a job?  Even in the military – where protection cannot always be guaranteed – a commander will lose their job if they failed to protect their people because of negligence; duly so if they attempted to falsify testimony.  Why do these administrators get a pass?  Why should any educator or school board that protects their own over the children under their care be allowed to retain their jobs?  The school board of the McIntosh County School District has lost sight of something very basic; educators hold a unique position of trust in society, and have a societal expectation to protect our children.  It’s critical that they do, as our kids spend more time with their teacher(s) on an average day than they do with us.  Lastly, these educators are critical in our children’s development.


This story stirs up a lot of vitriol, but it also poses a more harrowing question; where else is this happening?  The numbers indicate that sexual abuse cases are twice as likely in rural areas than in urban areas, meaning that small-town America could be at a greater risk.  Having grown up in a small town and witnessing it first hand, the “good old boy” network is a very real and potentially dangerous element to contend with – especially in schools.  When you see a story like this, it becomes easier to see how it could work against a victim.  The first rule to a “good old boy” network is to preserve the network.  If an incident like sexual abuse threatens the well-being of a person in this network, the tides will quickly turn against the victim.

So, if you live in small-town America and have a child in school, it’s important to know how to push past the good old boys.  The first step is to know the warning signs of child sexual abuse.  The second step is to assume the school will not help you; they have a reputation to maintain and teacher sexual abuse is a definite black eye on the leadership.  Lastly, the third step is to take the issue to the police department – don’t leave a victim’s fate up to chance; you might be their only line of defense.

If your child, or a child you know is a victim of sexual abuse, contact your local police department and report it.  To find out more about the victim’s legal rights, contact Estey & Bomberger today to get a free consultation at (800) 925-0723 or via email at


McIntosh County teacher accused of having sex with three students

McIntosh County school officials charged with failure to report child abuse will remain on jobs

McIntosh County high principal, school superintendent and assistant charged with failure to report child abuse, GBI says