Registered sex offenders are getting jobs in schools as teachers, administrators, volunteers, and contractors, despite state laws that prohibit them from contact with children, says a U.S. Government Accountability Office study reported by USA Today. School officials in some states enable misconduct to continue by ignoring red flags during hiring or by covering up the firing of sexual offenders, the report says.
The report is based on a review of 15 cases in 11 states over the last decade. Of those, 11 offenders had previously targeted children, and six abused more children in their new positions. About 35 states have laws restricting offenders from schools, and most states require criminal history checks, though specifics vary widely, the report found. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), who requested the investigation, urged states to strengthen laws or pass a law if they don’t have them. An Education Department study estimates that millions of kids in kindergarten through 12th grade are victims of sexual misconduct by a school employee. The GAO report notes most sexual abuse of children goes unreported. In one study, 232 child molesters admitted to molesting 17,000 victims, often without ever being caught.