California is about to open a litigation “window” that temporarily allows victims of sex abuse for whom the statute of limitations has run out to sue the employers of their abusers. The prime target is of course the Roman Catholic Church, with the Boy Scouts also on the radar. Over on NRO, Kevin Williamson notes that California is exempting its own government-run public schools from liability to these lawsuits, even though the available data strongly indicate that rates of sex abuse in public schools are much higher than in churches or any other institution:
In the Los Angeles Unified School District alone some 600 teachers over a four-year period were fired, have resigned, or were facing sanctions because of “inappropriate conduct” relating to students. The lumping of cases together somewhat obscures things: About 60 teachers faced punishment for outright sexual relations with students (or other minors), while others were punished for offenses such as showing pornography to students, forcing students to act out “master and slave” sexual role-play scenarios, taking a student on a field trip to a sex shop, lining girls up in the classroom to judge their relative breast size before having them do jumping jacks, and old-fashioned sexual harassment. Some of these teachers had complaints in their files dating back years that had not been acted upon, while another teacher, in an episode unhappily reminiscent of Catholic priest-shuffling practices, had been in hot water at six different schools for sexual misconduct. If we limit ourselves to those cases of actual sexual relations, then a little crude extrapolation from Los Angeles’s 662,140 students to California’s 6.2 million total public-school students suggests that, in California each year, seven to eight times as much sexual misconduct takes place in public schools as in the Catholic Church.
The double standard is, of course, a result of the stranglehold public sector unions have over California politics. When legislation was introduced to make it somewhat easier (not “easy,” just somewhat easier) to fire teachers with a history of sexual abuse, “the California Teachers Association and other unions presented a united front against a bill passed by the state senate, and it died in the Assembly.” In this, I regret to say, the track record of the CTA is not much different from that of teachers’ unions across the country.