St. Joseph-Ogden - (ECWd) -
As a teacher, coach, and school superintendent, you are a mandated reporter without question.
Mandated Reporters - This is not a new subject for us, we have been looking at these situations for several years, but nobody wants to talk about them, until now.
One such incident, and it had national attention, was Penn State and Joe Paterno's quote of "I wish I had done more."
Another was an article we posted about a local school - Quote from an article we posted in September of 2012:
"It was only a few short months ago when I questioned our local schools on their policies of mandatory reporting and the fact that state laws say the individual with knowledge must report, while the school boards" ... "require notification of the school principal or superintendent prior to reporting. I voiced my opinion that their rule might cause a mandatory reporter to think twice about reporting for fear of retaliation – especially if it involved a relative or friend of a teacher, principal or superintendent – and I felt it was in direct conflict with the intent of the law, which is to allow a mandatory reporter to remain anonymous. Sadly, their policies remain the same."
The key point to concentrate on in the previous quote is: "my opinion that their rule might cause a mandatory reporter to think twice about reporting for fear of retaliation – especially if it involved a relative or friend of a teacher, principal or superintendent – and I felt it was in direct conflict with the intent of the law, which is to allow a mandatory reporter to remain anonymous"
. . . a relative or friend . . .
St. Joseph-Ogden High School Superintendent Jim Acklin and his alleged failure to report suspected abuse as required by law.
Jim Acklin is currently a candidate for Illinois State Representative of the 102nd District. He was formerly the superintendent of SJO High School district.
In 2012, a "Jane Doe" sued the SJO School District Board and Jim Acklin, among others, in a civil suit arguing in part that there was a failure of the mandated duty to report suspected incidents of abuse to DCFS, willful and wanton indifference to known sexual harassment by Jamison, and negligent hiring and retention of Jamison. The suit also mentioned 6 other minor students. The case led to a settlement and we are waiting on the settlement records from the school district.
The case came on the heals of former SJO Coach Jon Jamison's felony charges. Jamison had been charged in 2012 with 2 Counts of criminal sexual assault with the victim between 13 and 17 years of age, and a 3rd Count of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse with the victim being between the ages of 13 and 17 and Jamison being in a position of trust. His bond was set at $100,000.
On December 20, 2012, Jamison entered a Guilty Plea to the 3rd Count, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse with the victim being between the ages of 13 and 17 and Jamison being in a position of trust. He was sentenced to 48 month probation and court supervision, along with other items to include registration in the sex offender registration database as a Sexual Predator. This was Champaign County Case # 12CF000199. His next court appearance is December 22, 2016.
Acklin was quoted as saying that he didn't think the allegations rose to the level of reporting, but what he fails to understand is that it was never his duty to determine if the allegations rose to that level, only that an allegation was made, and he was required by law to report it.
Remember what I talked about 3 1/2 years ago in reference to mandated reporting, and relatives and friends? Here we see something that could have been quashed for that very reason:
An interesting twist in this situation (although it would not alleviate his duty to report) is whether or not Acklin truly thought the allegations were not worth reporting, or whether he was attempting to cover-up for a friend of his family. It was just a few years earlier when Acklin and his son were standing in the wedding party of Jon Jamison as Groomsman and Ring Bearer respectively, the person whom the complaint was against and who later pled guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child in his trust.
Think about this as a warning of future actions based on past actions. Would Acklin report violations of law in the Legislature, or would he simply try to "keep it in-house" so as not to give them a "black eye"? Would he value "friendships" or "donators" more than Truth and Law?
We have much more to report about this as the records keep streaming in, and ask that you check back for updates.
Until then, below are some facts about mandated reporting, and how there is no provision for a mandated reporter or school official to determine if it rises to that level or not. Their only job is to report it.
The Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, 325 ILCS 5, is clear on the responsibility and the mandate to report all allegations of abuse.
Section 4 defines those required to report, and includes school personnel including administrators and both certified and non-certified school employees, which also includes school board members.
For Illinois' Mandated Reporters, the FAQ provided by DCFS explains the law in a question and answer format, which I will include a couple questions here for the purposes of this article:
Q: Have I fulfilled my obligation as a Mandated Reporter if I tell my supervisor (i.e., principal, manager, administrator) about my suspicions of child abuse or neglect?
A: No. It is the individual responsibility as a Mandated Reporter to ENSURE that a child abuse report is made to the Hotline. Telling you supervisor or anyone else does not fulfill your legal obligation...
Q: Does my supervisor (i.e., principal, manager, administrator) have authority to decide whether I call the Hotline?
A: ...the law states that under no circumstances shall any person in charge of an institution control, restrain, or modify a child abuse/neglect report.
“Mandated reporters who make good faith reports have the same immunity from liability under the law as non-mandated reporters. However, a mandated reporter’s failure to report suspected instances of child abuse or neglect to DCFS constitutes a Class A misdemeanor; simply reporting suspicions to a superior does not satisfy legal requirements. “
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