LOS ANGELES — Months after the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing was notified of a Los Angeles Unified elementary school teacher suspected of molesting at least a dozen students and a principal who failed to report him to authorities, the agency has not taken action on the cases.
Both educators retired soon after the Los Angeles Police Department started investigating the allegations last March. However, the commission's time lag in resolving the cases, which could include revoking the person's teaching credential, underscores how teachers accused of grievous misconduct can take advantage of a loophole and simply move on to another district.
Although districts routinely check teaching applicants' credentials, the record may not show if complaints are pending and applicants can appear as clear. By the time the commission takes action, the teachers are already employed and their credential may not be checked again for years.
Experts said studies show pedophile teachers work at, on average, three schools before they are caught.
"This is one more example of why we have to change things," said Jolie Logan, chief executive of Darkness to Light, a nonprofit that works to prevent child sex abuse.