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Wednesday
Dec152010

ABC News Exclusive: Sex Predators Still Getting Hired in Schools

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A General Accountability Office (GAO) investigation obtained exclusively by ABC News has found that people with histories of sexual misconduct are still getting hired by school systems across the country, despite state laws designed to prevent it from happening. The report, requested by Rep. George Miller, D-CA, highlights 15 cases in which teachers or coaches were hired or kept on school staffs despite evidence they were sexual predators. In six of those cases, these offenders used their school positions to sexually abuse more children.

In one case, the victim was a young, disabled boy. In another, the victim was a girl in sixth grade.

"I think this report tells us that we should be very concerned," Miller told ABC's Pierre Thomas. "We should construct or at least ask the states to construct a system that can be as foolproof as possible. The current system clearly has huge gaps in it....And that is just not acceptable."

The GAO found that the predators beat the criminal and background checks that are in place in many states, in a variety of ways. In some cases, schools did not perform the required criminal history checks. And even when checks were performed, they sometimes were limited to in-state criminal records, and did not reveal the teaching candidate had a criminal record in another state.

But the biggest problem may be what Miller calls "passing the trash." These were cases GAO found in which school systems just let suspected sexual offenders resign -- and even wrote them glowing letters of recommendation -- so they could find teaching jobs elsewhere.

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