Rochester Curbs Assault Info; Critic Cries Coverup


Rochester police and school officials are refusing to identify a teacher who was sexually assaulted last week near the home of a student she tutors. It was the third assault of a teacher from the Home-Hospital Teachers unit in the last two months, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports.

The police said the teacher was attacked in midday while making a home visit. Sgt. Carlos Garcia, police spokesman, declined to name even the street where the crime happened, deferring to the victim’s wishes. “We have a very fragile victim,” he said. “In this situation, the victim has asked us not to be giving information to the media.”

The woman is one of 80 teachers who tutor students in homes, hospitals or jails. Those teachers deal with 350 students this year, compared with 200 last year, moving from student to student daily and not teaching in classrooms. The teacher and student arrange where they want to meet. Another adult must be present.

Columnist Bob Lonsberry, in a Web commentary, says the case “raises several questions, some about the quality of local journalism and others about the possible influence of politics in police conduct. It seems that even the worst of crimes can escape the attention of a small army of supposedly professional reporters, and that a police department's PR operation can – without explanation – keep the lid on big stories in the run-up to Election Day.”

Lonsberry quotes sources as saying that the tutor, walking with a cane, was assaulted by four truant teenagers. After the crime, at noontime Monday, Oct. 20, “The police said nothing about it. The school district said nothing about it. The teachers union said nothing about it,” Lonsberry said. He added that the police chief “had a ‘press availability’ about the supposed eradication of a gang, and he called a radio show to say crime was actually down in the city, but not a peep about this nightmarish assault. That's what things are like two weeks before Election Day.”


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