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‘Investigate sexual abuse allegations in PSS’

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres will ask the attorney general to conduct a formal investigation into allegations of sexual abuses in the Public School System.

In a letter to Board of Education Chairwoman Janice Tenorio and Education Commissioner Alfred Ada, the governor asked for their cooperation and assistance “on a matter of great importance to our students and families in the CNMI.”

He said for many years now, parents and community stakeholders at PSS have “endured the anxiety and stress over concerns of sexual assault on students by teachers and administrators entrusted to care for our children.”

He added, “Many, if not all, of these recent and past allegations have not resulted in a public accounting of the allegations, nor have parents been provided the solace that appropriate measures are in place to ensure the further safety of their children while enrolled in our schools.”

The governor said, “These circumstances have persisted for many years, and much of the allegations of abuse…have occurred prior to your leadership of our school system.”

The governor said, “We should do everything we can to ensure our schools remain safe for our children.”

“For this reason,” he added, “I will be requesting the attorney general to conduct a formal investigation of the Public School System’s handling and management of allegations of sexual abuse of minors. It is my belief that those who have been victims of sexual assault by teachers or individuals of authority while in the Public School System deserve justice and while it may be too late to safeguard them from the abuse, we can learn more and do more to protect our students today.”

The results of the investigation, he added, will “aid in the effort to better understand the historical and current context relating to the protection of our children from sexual offenders masquerading as caretakers.”

“It is my hope to engage with the Legislature and our current school administrators to ensure proper care is provided to allegations of sexual assault and that future school administrators are held to account for their responsibility in securing our children from sexual predation,” the governor said.

“Moreover, it is our inherent responsibility to ensure that, in addition to justice, we exert every effort to provide victims of sexual assault with the services and assistance they need to cope with the devastating effects of such a tragic event in their lives,” he added.

 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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