AP Investigation: Teacher Misconduct Widespread

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - In elementary and secondary classrooms across Kentucky, teachers have harassed, molested -- and in the worst cases -- sexually assaulted students they were supposed to nurture and protect.

State officials handled nearly 100 instances of teacher sexual misconduct over a recent five-year period. The cases ranged from minor violations like using sexual language to more serious, criminal acts like inappropriate touching and even sodomy and rape. That's about two violations for each month on the school calendar.

Kentucky's figures were gathered as part of a seven-month investigation in which Associated Press reporters sought records on teacher discipline in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In a sample of teacher disciplinary actions from 2001 to 2005 by the Kentucky agency that tracks violations, 95 teachers had their license suspended or revoked, or they surrendered it for wrongdoing related to sexual misconduct. That's 42 percent of the 227 teachers who faced punishment during that time for all misconduct.

Some crimes were so egregious, the teachers ended up in prison or on the state registry of sex offenders. Others committed minor violations and were given a short suspension and allowed to continue their careers.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-20-07 1248EDT

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