K-12 budget
Question: Will the Star will give this story of sodomy and sexual abuse anything like the coverage it would have if the male teacher were a Catholic priest?

Jackson County prosecutors charged James Green Jr., 52, currently a teacher and coach at Northgate Middle School in the North Kansas City School District, with six counts of second-degree statutory sodomy.

Green reportedly began his sexual exploitation twelve years ago when the male victim was a sixteen-year-old student at Smithville High School, and Green was a Blue Springs South High School teacher and swim coach. The victim said that Green gave him a camera, a cell phone, a car, among other gifts and hired him for landscaping work as a pretext to “hang out.” As the boy matured, he tried to sever the relationship, but Green recently began pestering him again on Facebook

Although initial reports are sketchy, it appears that Green moved from one school district to another over the course of his career. The Star reports, for instance, that Green “has secretly filmed boys in locker rooms at various schools where he has worked.”

For years, it was common in Missouri for school districts to sign confidentially agreements with sexual offenders that traded the teacher’s quiet departure for a promise not to tell other districts the reason for the departure.

The phenomenon became known as “passing the trash.” In one notorious Missouri case a teacher taught at four different districts, moving in each instance after charges of sexual misconduct were level against him, before being stopped.

After the Associated Press released a comprehensive report on the subject in 2007, a Missouri woman named Amy Hestir contacted then Republican State Rep Jane Cunningham.  A teacher sexually abused Hestir, then a junior high student, for a year in 1980s. When Hestir reported the abuse, nothing was done. The teacher retired years later as teacher of the year in his district.

In response, Cunningham overcame the resistance of the teachers union and got the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act passed in 2011.

Green persisted in spite of the law. As Blue Springs police learned, the young man from Smithville High was not the only one Green had been soliciting online. Up until his arrest, Green’s had been sexually violating a sixteen year-old Blue Springs boy who had been a student in Green’s computer tech class. This scandal likely goes deeper than James Green, but it remains to be seen whether the Star will give this story anything like the coverage it would have if Green were a Catholic priest.
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