After reading the Brian Burnes piece in the Star about creature teacher Matthew J. Nelson and his sex abuse plea agreement, I could feel the bones of Joe Paterno rolling over.
Nelson, a former Teacher of the Year, taught elementary school for 10 years in Grain Valley, and pleaded guilty on Wednesday to sexually abusing 11 boys.
The arrest was made in January, 2012, according to the article, but…and here’s the kicker….way back in 2008, Grain Valley School District officials said that a “concern” regarding Nelson had been brought to their attention.
District officials said they discussed the allegations with Nelson at that time, but added that, “the generic nature” of the report didn’t lead them in any particular direction. The saddest news of all is that the incidents of abuse Nelson admitted to occurred from August 2008 through January 2012.
Had the “concern” been investigated fully by district officials, could ALL of these abuse cases been prevented?
Now, the fact that Nelson had received his “Teacher of the Year” award one year earlier in 2007…..was that enough of a factor to shield him from anyone believing he could turn into this predatory monster? And just how is this different from the blind eye that was turned at Penn State?
I feel for the parents of the many students that were involved here. And I’m angry for the way this was mishandled by Grain Valley authorities. Someone needs to answer for the lack of investigation into a very serious “concern.”