As my regular readers know, I take a keen interest in Chester the Molester types who prey on school children and have exposed the way that various institutions, including schools, respond to complaints and deal with allegations of misconduct. For instance, check out my recent blog on the Chino Unified School District:
Now let me turn the page of my Detective’s Diary to my ongoing participation in assisting parents and children at the Pasadena USD. Fairly recently, I had filed a complaint against PUSD and its Human Resources Department for illegally hiring–at taxpayer expense–retired Principal Antonio Sandoval to conduct an investigation into parent allegations of child abuse and potential molestation in the district. The HR department denied that it had conducted an “investigation” and refused to comply with my California Public Records Act (CPRA) request on the grounds that since there was supposedly no investigation as defined by Section 7521 of the Business & Professions Code, there were no documents meeting my demand. While they still have not bothered to comply with my request, I understand that both unlicensed investigator Sandoval and the PUSD were both put on notice and put in their place following an investigation by the California Bureau of Security & Investigative Services (BSIS) that concluded that indeed Sandoval was in violation of the Private Investigator Act.
Now we have a concrete example of why you don’t hire unlicensed (and incompetent) investigators to conduct an inquiry. Parents who were interviewed told Sandoval of their concerns (and fears for the safety of their children) in connection with a custodian at the school who had displayed something on his cell phone to a kindergarten girl which the parents described as utterly “inappropriate.” Parents also reported to Sandoval that the custodian in question had displayed obviously inappropriate behavior indicative of poor impulse control, such as pointing a leaf blower at children to blow trash at them and throwing a trash can towards parents.
Maria Ortega, a parent advocate with UFE (United For Education Coalition) and long time school volunteer had convinced the school administration to allow 5th graders to eat inside the cafeteria on cold days, reportedly prompting the same custodian to yell at the children and force them to clear out of the area before they finished their meals.
So, what did PUSD do about this state of affairs: they’ve recently instituted a demand that parent volunteers like Maria at the school must provide the school with their social security numbers, photo identifications, and that they submit to being fingerprinted. In fairness, maybe the school district is being reactive to media reports of teachers throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area being arrested for child molestation. But, UFE wants to know, are other parents who come to the campuses like PTA (Parent Teacher Association) members and ELAC (English Learner Advisory Committee) members being fingerprinted and background checked? If not, why not? What’s the rationale for checking some and not others, or is it just because some parents like Maria are a pain in the ass for the administration?
It’s not like PUSD has ever really been concerned about the shortcomings of the PUSD HR department and the administration’s ability to actually investigate the background of people it hires. In the same response to the same CPRA request in which PUSD denied conducting an illegal investigation, the district also claimed that they couldn’t find any record of ever having employed Edward Saucerman. For background on Ed Saucerman, check out my last (of many postings) on him:
You will note that Saucerman, prior to having been hired as a school cop in PUSD, had been a school cop in the Fontana Unified School District. The lawsuit he got the district into (PDF file embedded in the above blog) and a Press Enterprise newspaper article (detailing how he’d been ordered off the campus of Fontana High School due to staff complaints) were already public record and easily obtained before he ever got hired by PUSD. As an “oh by the way,” for my PI colleagues who want to know what my disagreement was about with President Chris Reynolds of CALI, his objection to my blogging about (exposing?) Saucerman’s sordid history was what prompted my resignation from the board of CALI. Chris didn’t seem to grasp the concept that his objection created conflicts of interest for me, such as my duty to other organizations (like UFE) to investigate and publicize issues like this one. I am after all a publicist as well as a private investigator, having served as First Vice President of Newspaper Guild Local 69 and having been called a “P.R. Guru” by the Los Angeles Times in July 1996.
That said, what does PUSD say in response to my CPRA request regarding Ed Saucerman? They denied being able to determine that he had worked for the district! This is nothing short of astounding. I mean, I’m shocked, shocked to learn that the PUSD HR department couldn’t figure out that Ed Saucerman worked for PUSD:
After all, he wound up bringing an action before the Workers Compensation Appeals Board against the district due to his getting injured while trying to handcuff a suspect and another incident where he contended he was injured during a training session.
But the District didn’t seem to be able to figure out he existed in response to my CPRA request. Go figure…..