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Despite political wrangling over who supports the police more, both major parties want voters to believe the answer to school shootings is more funding for the police.
Yet an alarming trend of school resource officers being charged, accused or prosecuted for sexual misconduct challenges the idea that throwing more money at the police will solve our problems.
School Resource Officer Sexual Misconduct
On August 3, two former school resource officers at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina, were arrested after a sexual misconduct investigation, according to the Post and courier.
Conrad Sands Stayton, 40, has been charged with third degree sexual exploitation of a minor and misconduct of office over allegations he kept ‘pornographic’ photos of a 17-year-old student on his telephone. Stayton allegedly possessed more than 15 images of the student on his personal cell phone involving “sexual activity or appearing in a state of sexually explicit nudity”, according to the arrest warrant affidavits.
His supervisor at the Goose Creek Police Department, Shelly Love Ollic, 52, was also arrested for allegedly knowing Stayton was in an inappropriate relationship and failing to report the inappropriate behavior to authorities. The student later said he was sexually assaulted by Stayton, according to the affidavits.
Already imprisoned, other victims come forward
August 4, Valley News Live reported that two more victims have come forward against a former sheriff’s deputy and school resource officer in Bagley, Minnesota, who already faces seven felony charges in two criminal cases involving sexual misconduct against two teenage boys.
In fact, 34-year-old Neil Dolan is already serving time in South Dakota for similar crimes when he was a school resource assistant for the Bagley School District and camp director at Many Point Scout Camp in Ponsford, Minnesota. According to court documents, a male victim came forward in 2021 with details of the abuse he suffered at the hands of Dolan between 2016 and 2019 when the victim was 13 and 14 years old.
The victim told Minnesota investigators that Dolan would call him into his office, pull down the blinds and lock the door, and force his hands at the threat of “You better f****** do this or else I’ll get you in trouble”.
Meanwhile, a San Diego Community College district police officer has filed a complaint against her supervisor, alleging he used his power to sexually harass and abuse her before exacting revenge on her after she refused his advances, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. August 4.
Students at risk as Democrats and Republicans play politics on police funding
Representing only a few recent cases, the alarming trend involving sexual misconduct by school resource officers has failed to make its way into the national public safety discourse.
In fact, there is no national database of school resource officer misconduct and some studies have been published on the matter.
While the desire to keep schools safe for students is a noble undertaking, few politicians, including President Biden, have addressed the issue of sexual misconduct among law enforcement.
The school shooting by Uvalde and others have already made it clear that just having armed police in schools does not necessarily prevent school shootings. Yet, as the midterms approached, Democrats and President Biden stepped up their pro-police messaging after years of Republicans accusing them of wanting to defund the police.
As politicians battle the tough-on-crime propaganda that spreads with each election cycle, students across the country remain at risk of sexual exploitation among those sworn to protect and serve.
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