Teen Predators - Part I

By: Lori Mitchell
By: Lori Mitchell

It's a parent's worst nightmare. Their five-year-old daughter comes home from school one day and says she was molested by another student on her school bus.

For one Elkton family, who's names we aren't releasing, this scenario is all too real. Now the girl's parents are suing Todd County school officials who, they say, failed to protect their daughter from a known sex offender.

It's cases like these that have prosecutors re-thinking how we deal with underage sex offenders and questioning whether their identities should be made public.

"To me, it is ridiculous, especially when you're dealing with sex offenses committed by kids as young as 14, that there isn't public knowledge." Commonwealth Attorney Chris Cohron is talking about teen predators, who could be prowling the halls at your child's school without anyone finding out.

"There are privacy issues schools face because the child isn't 18 yet."

But schools are still responsible for protecting other students from known sex offenders, while protecting the identity of the underage offender.

"You realize the fact that safety is the most important thing. But you still have to be careful not to violate the rights of any child in the school district."

Muhlenberg County Superintendent Dale Todd faced that dilemma a few years ago when a sex offender entered his school system. Todd was alerted by local court officials and then sent the student to the alternative learning center.

But school officials aren't always notified, and in many cases, don't know how may sex offenders are roaming their halls.

That's why Cohron feels teen predator's identities should become public knowledge. "If we transfer these kids to adult court, then the curtains are open for all to see."

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