Thursday, December 08, 2005

Man abused boy after posing as godfather

A frightening story of abuse by a DC resident posing as 14 year old DCPS student's godfather.
D.C. police say a man accused of sexually abusing a 14 year-old boy was able to pull the victim out of school by falsely claiming to be the boy's godfather.

Investigators say the victim's family did not know 40 year-old Ralph Nelson, a neighbor who was arrested Friday and charged with child sexual abuse. Nelson is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.
The victim told the police that Nelson signed him out of Shaw junior high school using the godfather ruse; police are currently investigating the details. If it is confirmed that this is what happened it will be another black eye for DCPS with respect to student safety. What kind of policy allows a godparent to check a student out of school?

[Shaw is a junior high school, not high school as originally posted]

UPDATE: More in the Post:
Alexis Moore, a D.C. public schools spokeswoman, said yesterday that she did not know whether Nelson's name was on the teenager's enrollment form.

"It is our policy that the name of a parent, guardian or appointed representative has to be on the child's enrollment form," Moore said. "If your name is not there, you have no permission or access to the child or the child's record."
Well, at least we now know that DCPS has a policy in place to keep just anyone from removing a student from school. The next question is whether Nelson's name was on the enrollment form, and if not, why the heck a school official still allowed the victim to be signed out by him multiple times?


Anonymous said...

Sadly, so many students in DCPS are not cared for by their parents or grandparents that the office staff probably sees more "godparents", "uncles" and "aunts" than they do real parents. A policy of asking to see legal proof of guardianship in every case would probably be a burden most of them don't want to take on. Of course, it should be standard operating procedure, but most office staff would rather avoid the risk of confrontation than insist on seeing documentation. (And there's also the issue that a significant number of students in DCPS don't live with their legal guardians...)

Nathan said...

While I agree that the living arrangements of students in DCPS may less cut and dried of suburban areas schools should still have lists of who is authorized to check students out. It should be something that is taken care of during new student orientation and anyone who isn't on a student's contact / check out list should be, at the very least, viewed with suspicion.