Ever get news about someone you used to know that is really shocking to you? That is what I woke up to this morning. I go online and read the news after I made my way to the living room.
I see a story about a local teacher arrested for child molestation charges on a young boy, and immediately I knew who it was. I guess because it named his school, and I know this male teacher likes younger guys. Maybe it is because I always told this guy to be careful in who he was seeing. I always thought he would know better than to go after someone that young.
This person and I, I have probably blogged about him and his parties for his birthday, but don't recall what name I gave him... Found it... Teacher Friend.
We met years ago on an online site for guys. I was just starting my teaching career and he was well established. He invited me over and we hung out. I went to a couple of his birthday parties and always met people whom I am acquaintances with on facebook to this day. I'm waiting to see if they post anything. We have friends like Foot Fetish in common, and they hang out regularly.
This guy was a well liked teacher and the comments about him on the news sites substantiate this claim. Still, it doesn't excuse his behavior.
I was there for him a few times - the night we were chatting on AIM and he was drunk because he just came out to his mother after his long term boyfriend moved to NY to become an actor. He has supported me as a teacher and let me vent to him as I was first starting out. I enjoyed him since he played devils advocate often, and he was good at separating emotions.
The last time I messaged him was back in May or so when I got a few of his students in my classes and the conversation wasn't anything worth noting.
What he did was completely wrong - I am assuming he did since there is evidence to substantiate it. I feel bad for the kid - maybe the kid consented, but the kid was under 15. This guy should have known better. I have to side with the kid. The kid is underage. The kid I'm sure was going through a lot, exploring sexuality, curious about sex, but probably went about it the wrong way. I feel bad for the kid.
I guess what shocks me more was it was someone I used to know. He was a teacher with over 10 years in the profession. His life will never be the same. He is now going to be a sex offender. He is in jail now and has bail against him. He will likely never be able to be a teacher again. He is almost middle aged and will have to start over if he does. He has lost his pension. Was all of this worth it? Whether it was a short or long term infatuation with this minor, was it worth it?
It shocked me because it hits close to home. I am gay. I basically hide it, especially at the school I am at, with the less than supportive staff I have. I am out to 5 out of 45 people at the school. The 5 people would never tell. I don't tell students unless they were to ask - and so far few have. They think I am straight, which amuses me. I would NEVER EVER consider dating, doing something with a student, or someone younger. For one, I am in a relationship, but even if I were not, I would have wanted ID etc. to confirm the person was above 18. Also, I know that if a student doesn't like a teacher they can say things that can slander them, put them under investigation, and that's something I don't want, and sexuality seems to be one of the easiest targets. I have been targeted by an administrator for me being gay, and it made my life hell. I was worried about my career. Its a fine line you have to walk when you are gay and a teacher...
EDIT: Nearly 24 hours later I'm still in shock. I keep thinking about it. I guess because I thought he knew better. It is someone I knew who seemed like the person to hold everyone to a higher moral standard. I have had all sorts of thoughts like I wonder how he's surviving in prison. What is life for his family and the boy going to be now? What about his students? So many cans of worms.