December 15, 2005


Law and Disorder: Special Victims Unit: Investigators say the city's independent schools watchdog has often failed to bark (Tom Robbins, December 13th, 2005, Village Voice)

Back in 1997 police arrested a man named Ronald Taylor, who worked as an assistant public school principal in Harlem. Taylor, 50 years old at the time, easily ranked as a parent's worst nightmare. His arrest came after the mother of a student walked into a local police precinct and reported that Taylor had lured her 15-year-old son to his apartment with an offer to play with his video game collection. He then proceeded to sexually molest him. When cops went to investigate they found Taylor had tricked up his West Harlem apartment as a kids' game room. They also found some 400 X-rated videos.

Unlike a score of school-personnel sex-abuse cases from that era, Taylor's arrest got little news play. The Times ran a short item on an inside page and the Daily News carried one as well, on page 79. The lack of attention was partly because the arrest did not emanate from the efficient publicity machine of Edward Stancik, the late special commissioner for investigation for city schools.

For 12 years until his death in 2002, Stancik's gaunt features were a staple on TV newscasts as he told of corrupt bureaucrats and twisted sex abusers nailed by his office. Such cases made Stancik wildly unpopular in the teachers' union offices and the old Board of Education headquarters on Livingston Street in Brooklyn, where he was viewed as a merciless inquisitor, a publicity hound whose investigations were measured mainly for their TV and news-ink potential.

On the other hand, many politicians, journalists, prosecutors, and parents adored him, viewing Stancik as a valiant warrior against an intractable bureaucracy. So what if he knew how to use the media? What better way to send a message to the public and bad guys alike that wrongdoing won't be tolerated? When Stancik died at age 47 of heart failure in March 2002, there were some misgivings expressed about his occasional overzealousness. But the editorial call was to make sure the watchdog office he'd led didn't lose its fangs.

But a few months after Stancik's death, something unusual in the world of law enforcement happened. A former top investigator in his office, an ex-detective who had been a supervisor there for five years, sat down and wrote two lengthy letters to city officials alleging that a top Stancik deputy named Regina Loughran had dropped the ball in several important cases, either delaying arrests or letting the bad guys get away altogether. In some instances, it was alleged, Loughran had changed cases from being "substantiated" to "unsubstantiated."

The complaints were investigated by city attorneys, and several were confirmed. Yet Loughran today remains as powerful as ever, serving as the $151,000 number two official in the special investigators' office. Former and current investigators, both men and women, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told the Voice they were puzzled by the inaction. "If we had caught someone in the education system behaving this way, they'd be long gone," said one former investigator.

Among the cases the investigators cited was that of Ronald Taylor.

Of course, the MSM also has a vested interest in publicizing pedophilia among priests, not among teachers

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 15, 2005 1:25 PM

Stories of sexual abuse by teachers do make headlines, actually, but it's just not as (for lack of a better term) "sexy" as revealing abuses by priests. It's not as interesting as celebrities/politicians engaging in those acts.
So I'm not really sure, are you (Orrin) trying to sketch out some kind of left-wing media/teacher's union conspiracy that has colluded at the expense of the overly-represented number of pedophiles in the Catholic priesthood?

Posted by: Grog at December 16, 2005 1:35 AM

What is much more likely than a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy is the usual companion of runaway Sonderkommando* prosecutions: extortion and bribery. This story could just be about incompetence, a system clogged up with its own bacon grease and donut crumbs, but we would wonder if any of thee "special" invetitigators has been living beyond his or her visible means.

*Alexander Solzhenitsyn reminds us that the word "special," as in "special victims," "special agent," "special prosecutor" is a warning sign of tyranny.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 16, 2005 5:42 AM


They don't need to collude. The Church is conservative and teachers unions liberal so they get hysterical over the former even though it has less of a problem, though one it needs to deal with.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2005 7:43 AM

oj. If the Catholic Church is conservative, how do you define conservative?

Posted by: erp at December 16, 2005 3:06 PM

Inclined to protect traditions and institutions from innovation for newness sake.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2005 3:13 PM