Well into the first decade of the 2000s, the historical public perception of educators has been exceptionally high, as discussed in Part One of my book Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer. For instance, in 2013, teachers were ranked second to nurses as the profession with the highest ethical standards according to the Gallup annual polls of public opinion. At the time, this made the detection and prosecution of crimes committed by teachers, educators and professors on school and university property difficult.
Most recently, public sentiment has changed, according to Gallup, not for the nursing profession mind you, as nurses and paraprofessionals in the medical field were considered by 85% of the respondents as holding the highest ethical standards. While at the same time, just 49% considered college teachers (professors) as stalwarts of honesty and integrity in 2019. What happened within this short time period?
Acts of cheating, plagiarism, falsification of research, fake research, racketeering, inflating grades, fraudulent college admissions processing, misrepresenting enrollment, over-medicating Medicaid students, and data manipulation became more widely known. Many hypothesized that the constricting US economy played a major role in incentivizing criminal activities to supplant restricted family incomes. However, these acts, at least superficially, were not considered to be financially motivated.
Headlines in the News
- Global teacher testing scandals and those in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC, and elsewhere
- Teacher inappropriate relationships with minors occurring nationwide
Within the same time frame, the criminalization of typical non-violent student behaviors (failure to wear school uniforms, failure to follow teacher instructions, late arrival to school and or class, for instance) appeared to acerbate the prison to pipeline system for students only. As analyzed in Part Three of Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer, the unintended consequence of heightened school policing (19,000 sworn law enforcement officers assigned to work in public schools in 2009) and officers with arrest powers focused on pursuing the allegations of non-violent, non-criminal acts of students while failing to simultaneously ensure the protection of minors from adult perpetrators posing as law-abiding teachers, administrators and professors.
So while this website has focused primarily on occupational fraud and white collar crime committed by k-12 educators, professors, and administrators, this series will emphasize other types of criminal behavior for which parents of school-aged children and college enrolled young adults should be aware.
Please note that these individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty, information was obtained through public sources and images from police mug shots.
Teachers and Educators Arrested First Quarter 2020
Meredith Susan Barry Martin, of Davidsonville, was arrested on a warrant that charged her with five counts of sex abuse of a minor, eight counts of fourth-degree sex offense involving a person in the position of authority and two counts of perverted practice, police said in a statement.
A former United Christian Church and Academy teacher Michael Paul Rhoden was charged with a second-degree felony after he was accused of soliciting and engaging in lewd and sexual conduct with his former student.
Megan Jones, a Duval Charter School teacher was arrested and is accused of stealing another staff member’s Adderall prescription.
Ellarea Silva, a Louisiana middle school 8th grade science teacher was arrested after it was alleged she had sexually abused a 15-year-old student in her residence while her child was also home.
Marc Scheibel, was caught by a coworker at P.S. 213 in Oakland Gardens having a non-verbal autistic student touch his groin area, according to police.
Christopher Eppley, an Elysian Fields ISD teacher has been arrested by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, following an investigation of an improper relationship with a student in another district.
Anna Elizabeth Jeanette Patton, communicated with the 16-year-old victim through social media and text messages for the purpose of enticing the victim to engage in sexual activity and had sex with the student on multiple occasions.
Philip Spivey of Falls Church is facing four felony charges of indecent liberties by a custodian for an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student at the Falls Church area high school.
Tania Dickey-Driskill, was charged with attempted statutory rape, stalking and attempted endangering the welfare of a child, according to online court records.
Cameron Gerald Bookman, a middle school band teacher was arrested after West Virginia State Police received a complaint of criminal sexual misconduct.
Peter Frank, was arrested and charged on 12 counts of felony sex crimes; six for indecent liberties with a child, and six for indecent liberties with a student by a teacher.
Brittney Morgan Lyles was arrested following an investigation launched by police indicating that while the former teacher worked at the Kent County Alternative School Program, she met with her 17-year-old student on more than one occasion to engage in sexual intercourse and smoke marijuana.
Catherine Lynn Coffey, an elementary school teacher and assistant coach was charged with two felony counts of being a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under 19 – one a Class B and one a Class C felony.
Dustin Schallert was arrested on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault.
Brian Servin, a teacher at Kucera Middle School, was arrested arrested on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old.
It is interesting to note that white collar crime and other types of crime (assault, abuse and larceny for instance) does not occur in a vacuum. The environmental conditions that give rise to it, based upon my research are founded in the principles developed by the criminologist, R. Wortley. School systems and universities can significantly lower the risk of crime occurring on their grounds by minimizing certain risk factors. The first step in crime prevention is to conduct a risk assessment with the ultimate goal of eliminating these specific risks considered prevalent in some school and university settings.
Environmental Risk Factors for Criminal Behaviors
- Constant management upheaval and frequent staff changes
- Insider collusion at senior levels brought about by perceptions of low accountability
- External threats heightened by perceptions of opportunity (student visa fraud, immigration fraud, vendor and contract fraud)
- Absence of security protocols and low enforcement risk
For a detailed analysis of the conditions existing in educational institutions (k-12 and higher learning) that make students and systems vulnerable, click here for a historical perspective. In closing, there are several related articles on risk for fraud in school and university settings and risk management resources. For your assistance, please see a few below.
Risk related articles and resources