As reported in Wednesday’s Sentinel, the arrest last week of former Winnetonka High School campus supervisor Joshua Miller represented the sixth time since March 2016 a North Kansas City School District employee was busted on sex related charges. At least five of the six have been arrested.
Incredibly, however, the Kansas City Star has yet to see a pattern.
On Thursday, the Star ran a tepid editorial on one of the men, James Green. According to the Star, Green was “accused of having a relationship with the teen.” No, in fact, Green was actually charged with with six felony counts of 2nd degree statutory sodomy. The fact that the victim was a male may have led the Star to elevate their interaction to a “relationship.”
Again, it is useful to compare the Star’s handling of the North Kansas City cases with its treatment just a few years back of the less serious Shawn Ratigan case. A priest at the time, Ratigan was discovered to be taking lurid photos of unaware little girls at play.
For Star editors and reporters, the Ratigan scandal was tailor made. Unlike most accused priests, Ratigan’s pathology was heterosexual. Better still, his ultimate supervisor, Bishop Robert Finn, was described in media reports as a “theological conservative” with a record of challenging the Star’s agenda on life issues.
The Star assigned its ace project reporter, Judy Thomas, to the Ratigan story. Thomas has a reputation for zeroing in on pro-life institutions, Catholic and evangelical. Her dubious 2000 series on AIDS in the priesthood, she stated on her HSJ.org profile page, “was picked up in virtually every major market in the United States and in various outlets around the world.”
At the first whiff of the Ratigan scandal, the Star started to run above-the-fold headlines and soon called for the bishop’s resignation. “It’s painful to believe the most vulnerable in his flock weren’t protected,” criticized a Star editorialist. After Ratigan recovered from a suicide attempt, Bishop Finn moved Ratigan to a retirement home for nuns and imposed various restrictions. Heeding his attorneys’ advice, Finn did not report Ratigan to the police and was prosecuted for his failure.
The Star never Let him forget what was an honest misinterpretation of the law. In 2015, when Bishop Finn presided at the ordination of new priests, a Star editorial slammed the choice of Finn as “a repulsive, reckless and yet a par-for-the-course decision by the local Catholic hierarchy.” This was one of least ninety Star articles or editorials on the Ratigan case.
Despite the six sex cases, the Star has yet to mention the name of North KC School Superintendent, Dan Clemens. To be fair, Clemens did not start on the job until July 2016, The failure is less his than the Star’s, but given the paper’s political alliance with the teachers unions, its editors have gone out of the way to protect public education.
The unions meanwhile have done their best to protect the sexual predators in their ranks. Historically, after an accusation was investigated, an attorney representing the school district would meet with the attorney for the accused — often paid for by the teachers union, and the two lawyers would work out an agreement.
In many cases, the agreement would allow the accused to resign with some severance pay and a letter that did not specify the reason for the departure. So common have these deals been nationwide that the participants have earned the nickname “mobile molesters.”
The Star finally seems to have noticed. “Districts must quit quietly engaging in what has become known as ‘passing the trash,’ letting a teacher suspected of wrongdoing go without following through on difficult investigations or prosecutions,” the Star opined meekly on Thursday.
To many students and their parents, however, those words come too late and ring too hollow.