“When I received the first message, I was like, ‘This is weird and uncomfortable,’ and I just knew it wasn’t right,” the seventh-grade girl told FOX 4’s Shannon O’Brien about a Snapchat message she received from Piper middle school principal Eric Kilgore.
“It got like really, really, really in depth detail of what he said, and it was just awful,” she said.
The girl’s parents promptly reported the incident to the police and the Piper school authorities and “heard nothing from anyone at Piper School District.” In time, however, Kilgore was placed on administrative leave and was subsequently fired.
This was in February. On Thursday, Kilgore, 41, was charged with one count of electronic solicitation of a minor. He and his attorney successfully requested a reduction in his bond from $100,000 to $50,000. As a condition, the judge ordered Kilgore not to use a computer and the internet. One would hope!
“Dr. Kilgore” started his teaching career in 2009 and worked in the Kansas City, Kansas School District as a middle school administrator before coming to Piper.
As is the norm when public school teachers or principals are arrested for having sex with minors, the media dutifully report the story and then drop it. There is no investigation into the teacher’s past, no inquiry into union involvement, no mention of the offender’s supervisors.
The contrast between the way the media cover offenses by employees of public schools and Catholic priests is startling.
A few years back, for instance, Shawn Ratigan, a priest at the time, was discovered to be taking creepy clothed photos of unaware little girls at play.
After Ratigan recovered from a suicide attempt, Bishop Robert Finn moved Ratigan to a retirement home for nuns and imposed the kind of restrictions the judge imposed on Kilgore. Heeding his attorneys’ advice, Finn did not report Ratigan to the police. At a family reunion, Ratigan started taking photos anew and was busted.
For local editors and reporters, the Ratigan scandal was tailor made. Unlike most accused priests, Ratigan’s pathology was heterosexual. Better still, his ultimate supervisor, Bishop Finn, was described in media reports as a “theological conservative” with a record of challenging the media agenda on life issues.
The Kansas City Star alone would run more than 100 editorials and articles on the Ratigan case. The insinuation in a few of the editorials was that the Church’s celibacy rules led inevitably to perversion.
Kilgore is married and has a child. One suspects that his is not a very happy household today, but celibacy is not the issue, never was. What drives seemingly respectable people like Kilgore to do what he is accused of doing deserves more attention than a quick back-page story.