NEWS BLOG (WSAU) If it’s true, it’s an outrage.
The Wausau School District may have delayed reporting a sexual molestation case for up to a week. It was only when suspect Bee Lor threatened to bring a gun to a meeting with his bosses that police were notified. That was the meeting where Lor was fired as a school playground aide.
Lor is suspected of grabbing the breasts of an 11-year-old girl on the playground of Maine Elementary School. He’s also suspected of lewd behavior towards students. He asked them about their underwear, and had them reach into his pockets to get candy. Child pornography has been found on Lor’s home computer after police arrested him and got a search warrant.
The law is clear: people who work with children are mandatory reporters in child abuse cases. The law is fashioned so they specifically do not make judgment calls about how a case is handled. They are required to notify the police, social workers, and parents when they have a suspecion of abuse. We intentionally err on the side of protecting children and removing potential abusers from situations where they can cause more damage. Children are protected first… everything else gets sorted out later.
A district official initially told The Wausau Daily Herald that there was a delay in reporting the incident because the school was conducting its own investigation, which wasn't yet complete. This kind of delay is specifically prohibited under state law. During the time the school district was investigating Lor could have been molesting more children, or deleting evidence from his computer, or planning to flee onto to resurface somewhere else where he could prey on different children. How someone who works with children doesn't know this is shocking.
And this is not the first time. A former Wausau high school basketball coach, Mitch King, is in prison right now for having sex with a student. During that case we learned there were many school officials -- all of them covered under the mandatory reporting statute -- who wondered about that relationship but didn't take action.
These rules about being a mandatory reporter are no surprise to anyone who works with children. Doctors, social workers, daycare staff, and people who work in the schools are told that this is rule number one in dealing with child-abuse cases. How and why these rules weren’t followed must be the subject of a full investigation, and the results must be shared with the community. Parents who send their children to the Wausau School District need to know that these cases will be handled property, and why this one wasn't. Parents should have no confidence in the district until these answers are known.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau