Monday, March 7, 2011

6th Grade EASD Teacher Accused of Sexually Assaulting 7 Year-Old Girl, and Joe Kish's Role

Posted by: Noël Jones

This is disturbing as hell--the idea that someone with a predilection for molesting children would go into the field of teaching. Unfortunately it happens all the time, because, quite frankly, to molesters, working in a school is like working in a candy shop. The only consolation for parents with children in the Easton Area School District in this scenario is that the molestation was not of a student of the district and took place at home, where most molestation of children does.

It is important to note that this man stands accused--not convicted--of this crime and is deemed innocent until proven guilty. For anyone--and especially a teacher--to be falsely accused would be a traumatic and wreak devastating consequences on his career. So we will need to wait for the evidence to unfold. In the meantime, he has been suspended without pay.

But one thing that strikes me about an article by Colin McEvoy in the Express-Times is that EASD Solicitor Alan McFall, claims that there were no "founded" complaints by parents against this teacher, but the article goes on to interview a parent from Forks who says she and her daughter complained several times 5 years ago about the behavior of this teacher. Acting Superintendent at the time, Joe Kish, is quoted as

"It's a personnel matter, I can't comment on personnel matters...But when parents make complaints about teachers, custodians, any kind of staff, that's checked out immediately...That's routine for this kind of stuff. When somebody calls up, it's investigated."

So one has to ask--when a child confides in her parents, and that parent complains to the school, who decides that the claim is unfounded, and by what means?

Here is an excerpt from McEvoy's 3-page article:

'"He would have his cell phone down by his leg and, if they had a skirt on or something, he'd take that kind of picture," Colavita said.
She also complained about Sullivan allegedly entering the girl's bathroom, which she said her daughter witnessed.
Colavita said her daughter was so concerned about Sullivan that she and other classmates organized a petition seeking to have him fired.
"When anything was brought up to anybody about anything, nothing was done," Colavita said.
Kish said he remembers some of Colavita's calls but that they were investigated at the time and no evidence of wrongdoing was found.
"They checked it out," he said.'
This is the same Joe Kish who negotiated the teachers' contract that has wreaked such havoc on the budget in recent years, the same Joe Kish who belittled a resident speaking up at a school board meeting by claiming that he couldn't have done research himself and that someone on the board must manipulating him, the same Joe Kish that jumped to the defense of Sodexo when residents asked that they be investigated for fraud as they have been in New York and New Jersey, and the same Joe Kish that did not take the 811 building off the market after our duly-elected board voted and directed him to do so. The same Joe Kish is retiring now, fat and happy on his pension paid for by local taxpayers. And now this. Honestly--I have never seen a school administrator with a longer list of more varied offenses to the residents of a school district than this man. This is how the "good old family network" continues to hurt Easton. It's time for regime change.


tunsie said...

I cant imagine how aybody can hurt a child..what the hell is in these peoples heads.....No trial....public flogging.....Tunsie

noel jones said...

first a trial, then a flogging...

David Caines said...

I'm glad you said that noel, what I must say I do wonder about, is why is the school handling this in the first place, and not local or state police ?
Why and how were these allegations allowed to be handled by the school?
And I guess last but not least does the school have no responsibility to report suspected crimes of any nature to the proper authorities.
I assume this is in police investigators hands at this point and I agree that we should await judgment until a trail by twelve is settled upon.
But I must say, I do think that the school has failed in it's responsibilities across the board, any such allegations are criminal matters and not something to be handled in house.

noel jones said...

Good question; good point.

David Caines said...

I'm actually kind of hoping for answers from someone within the system. WE have mandatory reporting (teachers are bound by law to report) suspicions of abuse in parents or care givers so how exactly is it that the school system somehow gets a pass. If mr kish had reports of pedophilia, my understanding is that he his bound by law to pass those to the police or come under charges himself. I'm sort of waiting to hear of mr Kish being charged with at the very least interference in an investigation or failure to report. These are high end misdemeanors (the pedophilia) and unless some one has made the man a police officer, are outside of the bounds of civilian powers.
What ever may eventually be the case with the suspect, laws have been broken here by the school and it's administrators.
Someone needs to be held publicly accountable to that.

David Caines said...

If I'm wrong about the law here folks, some one by all means correct me. My understanding is that no one other than a duly sworn police officer / agency is empowered to investigate criminal acts or complaints.
I understand that clearly doing just that is a school policy, but that does not make it either legal or right.
And it leads me and I am sure most to wonder in what other ways the school has chosen to play police officer?
Rape , assault, etc... as well, we are not talking here about suspending a kid for something, but investigating adults (teachers/ staff) for crimes against children .
Again, if I'm wrong here correct me.

tunsie said...

I'm sorry...I am not a cruel person...But I love children...They R so innocent and filled with JOY...If U play with a child,its as if U have given that kid the world.I can never imagine ayone that ca hurt a child...Seeing a child cry breaks my heart.It makes me wanna cry...I yuve U Noel....Tunsie

noel jones said...

a reader, Carinne, emailed me this comment to post:

"At my work on Monday, a conversation was started up by an Easton parent who expressed being 'outraged' because she was aware of many complaints over the years from parents regarding this man's inappropriate behavior with young ladies. There was a young female staff present who agreed with the mother and added "I know! I had him as a teacher!"

I would be happy to make them aware of any legal matters that come up where their statements could help."

David Caines said...

I think it would be a good idea to send them straight to the police, who are equipped to handle these issues and not to school officials who are not. Possibly to whatever we call Division of Youth and Family services here in Pa. But in either case, sexual issues involving children are crimes, not school issues and should be brought straight to the police. Or if the cross state lines to the FBI .

Nikkita said...

Najja told me about this. She said he used to go into the girls bathroom and tell the girls "jokingly" not to use the hand dryers. She said they would always complain but nothing ever happened..... too bad she didn't tell me when it happened.

David Caines said...

And this is why it should have been brought to the police from the first accusation.
I don't know this teacher, but it is important not to rush to judgment.
It's rare, but kids misreporting crimes to get an adult in trouble has happened since the Salem witch trials.
If there is any truth to the rumors, hang the guy, but he really should be tried and convicted first.
I have issue with the school handling reports of adult crimes against children for this among other reasons, but the man in question is ten times worse off for them having done so. As if there is truth to the stories the children.
We have a process for a reason, and the school having side stepped that process has harmed all involved. There is a real possibility that we're looking at a dozen or so civil suits here, to include one by the teacher himself. The school has laid the ground work for it. As to the children involved a note to their parents would be to get them into counseling. I know a good MAPC -master of arts pastoral counseling - in Bethlehem who already works within the schools and is familiar with such issues. But counseling now is advised be it lay or secular.
Morning all...

david said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
noel jones said...

David, your last comment, aside from being offensive, was completely off-topic and I have deleted it. This is not a forum for bigoted comments, and anyone that can't stay on topic is not contributing to the conversation. please stay on topic and refraining from insulting people/cultures, etc., or don't post, or go start your own blog as you have said you'd like to do, rather than proliferating on this one with nonsense.

This is a post about a 6th grade teacher who is accused of molesting a 7 year-old girl, and Joe Kish's responsibility for dismissing the complaints of parents and teachers.

Boogie said...


This blog is really lame. Everyone who knows Joe Kish knows that if he had evidence that some teacher was molesting students, he would have kicked and then fired his ass.

You obviously don't like Mr. Kish, which is your right, but to accuse him of deliberate indifference to the Sullivan matter is ridiculous.

david said...

I'm not per say accusing him of anything other than stepping beyond his purview into the criminal realm. I don't feel that crimes by adults should be handled by anyone but the police. And I'm fairly sure that is the law.
By his own admission, the school investigated these issues in and of themselves. And now wer're in a nasty spot. You are right, I do not know the man, but his actions speak fairly loudly and not in a good way. Had this been handled openly from the first accusation, we wouldn't be where we are. The teacher in question would have been investigated by the proper authorities, and we wouldn't be questioning what if anything else the school is hiding.

noel jones said...

Boogie says:

"This blog is really lame."

Interesting that you keep reading it.

"Everyone who knows Joe Kish knows that if he had evidence that some teacher was molesting students, he would have kicked and then fired his ass."

You must be talking to a different "Everyone" than I'm hearing. Especially the parents who brought complaints on behalf of their children. And parents who are getting upset now because their children are speaking up to tell them about their own uncomfortable experiences with Sullivan.

"You obviously don't like Mr. Kish,"

No, I don't.

"...which is your right,"

Yes, it is.

"but to accuse him of deliberate indifference to the Sullivan matter is ridiculous."

I have not read or heard anywhere that this matter was ever referred by the Acting Superintendent to police, where the matter should have been handled.

Interesting that you are so defensive of Mr. Kish, Boogie. Are you Mr. Kish, or just a friend of Mr. Kish?

noel jones said...

Here is the latest on this issue as reported by the ET:

Substitute Solicitor, David Jordan, said at the meeting last night that HR Director John Castrovinci reviewed Sullivan's file, and found no allegations of sexual misconduct. Jordan advised the school board, (who had requested to review the file) that they could read it but should not let it be made available to the public to read as it would potentially open up the district to liability issues:

What is strange to me, is how parents could have made multiple complaints five years ago, and those complaints never made it into Sullivan's file?

Secondly, if there is nothing in the file, then how does opening it to the public expose the district to potential liability?

It would seem to me that there is already the potential for liability if the parents' and students' complaints were never filed and the matter was never turned over to police, under the direction of Joe Kish. One can only hope that if a suit is brought, that it can be brought against Kish personally, rather than against the district.

If a district gets sued over a Superintendent's behavior, can the district then sue the Superintendent personally? Does anyone know--would the district have any recourse?

Boogie said...


Regarding your post, I am not Mr. Kish, but I have worked for him. You obviously do not like him and use this blog as a whipping post spewing falsehoods about what he knew and when.

You assume that Mr. Sullivan was accused of criminal wrongdoing and that Mr. Kish somehow covered it up. Where is your proof?

noel jones said...


Then understand that you are also accusing the local papers of the same, as that is where I am drawing the information from regarding Sullivan. The rest is all from personal experience at school board meetings.

Kish is quoted in the paper as saying he remembers the complaints but that he looked into it and "everything checked out." The district also announced at the last meeting that there are no complaints in Sullivan's file. Now, 5 years later, Sullivan is accused of molesting a 7 year old girl, and students are coming out of the woodwork to talk about creepy experiences they have had with this teacher over the years. What did Kish base his findings on? Clearly not the complaints of students and parents. Why was it never referred to the police? That's what happens in the rest of society when someone is accused of sexual misconduct with a child--why didn't Kish do the same? Was he more concerned with potential liability against the school district than the welfare of the children being affected?

noel jones said...

Another thing, Boogie:

I have already agreed that I do not like Mr. Kish. I do not like him because:

1. of his handling of the Sullivan case
2. of his defense at a school board meeting of Sodexo, who has settled on fraud charges to school districts in NY and is currently be investigated in NJ
3. of his belittling of a resident at a school board meeting and claiming that he couldn't have done his own research on the 811 Building and that he must have been fed information by someone inside the district.
4. because of his blatant refusal to put the 811 Building back on the market after our school board directed him to do so
5. for repeatedly putting invoices for D'Huy Engineering on the agenda for approval from the school board for payment, when the expense was never put before the board for approval in the first place
5. and last but not least, for negotiating the teachers contract that currently has the district's budget underwater

You are being redundant when you say I don't like him. That is clear. Say something new, if you have any new points to contribute.

For someone who claims "this blog is lame" you are certainly a devoted reader...