135 Teachers Arrested for Alleged Abuse in 2022

Teacher in classroom | Image by Drazen Zigic

Since the beginning of 2022, reportedly 135 teachers and teachers’ aides have been arrested for sex-related crimes against children, according to a FOX News Digital analysis.

Researchers analyzed news stories from newspapers all over the country. They claim since only published articles were included in the analysis, the actual number could be higher.

The analysis showed arrests were made in 41 states between January 1 and May 13. Based on the numbers, police averaged an arrest per day.

A breakdown of the numbers shows that suspects included 117 teachers and 11 teachers’ aides.

One incident involved a teacher at Cupertino Middle School in Sunnyvale, California. Anthony James Phillips was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The 61-year-old teacher was employed at the school, and his alleged victim was a student. When authorities arrested Phillips, he was no longer employed with the school but still volunteered as a youth sports coach at a local high school, according to Sunnyvale DPS.

On April 8, Anessa Gower, a biology teacher at a charter school in Richmond, California, was arrested on 29 charges, including multiple counts of child molestation.

The Contra Costa County DA’s office released a statement, saying in part, “Gower was a biology teacher at Making Waves Academy in Richmond and allegedly engaged in numerous acts of a sexual nature with minors between 2021-2022.”

The DA’s office accused Gower of sexually abusing seven students in the 2021-2022 school year. Other charges accuse her of sharing inappropriate photos online.

According to court documents, her next court date is June 2. Gower is no longer employed at Making Waves Academy.

Erika Sanzi, with Parents Defending Education, says the federal government must investigate crimes against children by teachers much more thoroughly.

“Educator sexual abuse is a major problem that largely gets ignored because it is so uncomfortable to talk about,” Sanzi said. “While a very small fraction of educators and school employees prey on the children in their care, one bad actor can do damage to many students.”

The last federally commissioned report on sexual abuse by teachers, per Sanzi, was conducted in 2004. In that report, the U.S. Department of Education concluded that 9.6% of students had reported some form of abuse by their teachers.

Christopher Rufo, with the Manhattan Institute, says the scarcity of research on sex-related crimes against children by teachers is a “travesty.”

“Parents deserve to know exactly what’s happening in the public school system and deserve to have tools for protecting their children from abuse,” Rufo said. “The first duty of public schools is to keep kids safe—and, tragically, that’s not happening in far too many cases.”

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