To the Editor:
Several weeks ago, a former Beech Grove math teacher was charged with felony stalking a student.
Two months earlier, a swim coach from an Indianapolis high school pled guilty for having sexual relations with a teenage student.
These are just two examples of inexcusable behavior by adults against adolescents.
The U.S. Department of Justice is holding a series of meetings to promote deliberation and dialogue focusing on any youth exposed to sexual coercion.
In keeping with this initiative, the United States Attorney's Office will join forces with criminal justice officials and concerned citizens throughout Indiana to raise awareness about predatory misbehavior and criminal assault.
Sexual coercion against juveniles in any form is wrong and illegal. It will not be tolerated.
We must commit our resources to combat the victimization of individuals of all ages, but particularly adolescents.
We must provide support to victims and encourage those who are victimized to seek assistance and help. It is no longer acceptable to keep silent about these crimes.
While this warning certainly applies to those who choose to use force, it is equally applicable to those in positions of authority who abuse that position (whether as teacher, coach, mentor, friend or family member) for their gratification and manipulate teenagers into compromising an allegedly consensual relationships.
Those who hold otherwise respected positions of responsibility; mentorship or authority and who think it's acceptable to coerce young people into having intimate relationships with them are sadly mistaken.
They will be dealt with severely by law enforcement. This is a personal priority.
United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett,
Southern District of Indiana