Thursday, February 28, 2019

WBAL: Bill Eliminates Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Victims to File Civil Claims

Frank DeFilippo: Pulling Rank

...Lierman’s daughter, Del. Brooke Lierman (D), of South Baltimore, wants to give the Baltimore City Council the authority to cook election-day books. Translated, legislation she’s sponsored would let the Council decide whether to establish open primaries and “ranked choice” elections in the city.
These are loopy ideas that have their origins in such mellowed-out places as California and Takoma Park, and if the rest of the nation has learned anything it’s to follow the lead of neither of the two. One is increasingly unfit for human habitation and the other has bunkered itself into a nuclear-free stupor. Both fancy themselves as incubators for advanced thinking...
...Ranked choice elections, and their variations, are supposed to prevent candidates from winning with less than a majority of votes. They have approached disaster in Maine, the only state to adopt the controversial system, and a cumbersome system in the several California cities that have instituted the ranking system. (Ranked choice voting is also under considering in the Montgomery County legislative delegation; Takoma Park uses the system in municipal elections now.)
Ranked choice elections delay returns as well as results while election board math whizzes tinker with algorithms to chase the elusive 50.1 percent and in some elections have failed to reach the magic qualifying number. In Baltimore, often as few as 20 percent of the voters control 100 percent of the vote. That dismal performance probably won’t change with ranked choice, though the margin of victory theoretically would. Who would we be kidding but ourselves?
Essentially, ranked choice elections are the new politics plugged into the old. They institutionalize the old political machine trickery of “single-shooting” that is a common behind-the-curtain practice of political insiders but is little-known to the general public.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say there are six candidates running for five judgeships on the ballot and a voter prefers one over the other five. Instead of voting for five of the six, the voter casts a single vote for their preferred candidate, thus giving their candidate a vote and the others none. That single vote has a multiplier effect of five in the electoral advantage. Single-shooting was how political machine entrenched itself for decades.
And so it goes with ranked voting. Voters rank candidates according to preference. And in tallying the votes, candidates are eliminated from the bottom up until one at the top achieves a fraction more than 50 percent of the vote for a simple majority. Name recognition and incumbency would dominate the ballot...

Fake invoices and gambling debts: How a county bureaucrat stole $6.7 million

Peter Bang was shaking.
The 20-year Montgomery County employee sat before the county attorney and his deputy in a conference room in Rockville, staring at the piece of paper in front of him. He was being placed on leave without pay for stealing more than $6.7 million in public funds over six years, by far the largest embezzlement scheme in the affluent suburb’s history.
Bang “was trembling; he was shaking the whole time,” Deputy County Attorney John Markovs said. “He lowered his head and seemed resigned to the fact he had been caught.”
Byung Il “Peter” Bang, a numbers and budget guy, was also an embezzler and a gambler, according to court filings — bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars to casinos across the country even as he wagered he would get away with stealing millions from Montgomery County coffers...
...“Neither the people below him or above him seemed to be able to answer questions about the department’s finances,” said Jacob Sesker, then the County Council’s economic development analyst.
Bang’s appearance added to the effect.
“He was always the best-dressed man in the room,” said Sesker, now a senior legislative analyst with the county. “It’s not that often you’re in a room full of people both in the public and private sector, and the best-dressed person is a bureaucrat.”..
...Bang then directed money from the county toward a false company that seemed to be created for the scam, with a name evoking the province: Chungbuk Incubator Fund LLC. He approved the LLC’s fake invoices, directing the county to hold the checks for him to pick up. The money went to bank accounts associated with Bang’s home address in Germantown.
The scheme ended after Montgomery privatized its economic development functions in 2016, doing away with Bang’s department — and his ability to direct funds with apparent impunity. Bang was transferred to the county’s finance department.
And there he might have stayed if the Internal Revenue Service hadn’t knocked on the county attorney’s door with a summons in April 2017...

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

MACo: Bill on Small Cells Removes Public Input and Transparency, Favors Corporate Interests

On Tuesday, Natasha Mehu testified on a panel in opposition to SB 937 Wireless Facilities – Installation and Regulation alongside representatives from multiple counties, cities, and organizations.
Although Counties do believe that it is important to advance small cell technology, MACo and its affiliates believe that Maryland deserves a better path forward to delivering improved wireless “5G” service in the years to come.
SB 937 would significantly restrict local zoning authority, advancing corporate interests ahead of community input and needs. Counties hope to forge a balanced path forward for continued wireless roll-out across Maryland, but this cannot be accomplished with SB 937.
From the MACo Testimony:
Planning and zoning are central components of local authority under Maryland law – this is the essential means for citizen and community input. Local governments must be able to protect the safety and interests of their communities as necessary though zoning reviews and approvals. Counties must also have the ability to respond to the contours of historically important, culturally significant, and aesthetically designed areas. SB 937 instead imposes a statewide “permitted use” inside and outside of the local rights of way. In other words, it grants the wireless industry a right to deploy small cells (up to 28 cubic feet in size, on poles 50 feet high) wherever they want in the public right of way – even in communities with undergrounded utilities — with no substantive local government or community input. This sets a dangerous precedent of usurping local zoning authority over local rights of way.

Maryland Bill Would Make Background Checks by Public Schools More Rigorous #HB486 #SB541 @paulpinsky @ericluedtke @clarencelammd

...The bill sponsored by Del. C.T. Wilson, D-Charles County, requires school districts contact prior employers listed by job applicants before hiring those applicants. It also requires teachers to confirm in writing that they’ve never been the subject of a child abuse investigation, unless the investigation found the allegations to be false.
“We don’t do the proper background checks," Wilson said. "We only do a criminal background check, which is pretty useless in these matters.”..

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Will Maryland Step Up this Year? "I support, encourage, and beg the Legislature to pass legislation in this area – one with teeth, one with effective protection for child abuse victims, and one that values children victims over the concerns of highly funded special interest groups including, but not limited to, doctors, psychiatrists, teachers, and churches."

Will Maryland step up this year and finally leave Wyoming to stand alone?  

Maryland House Bill 1069 could take Maryland off the map of States that refuse to hold 
public school administrators responsible for their failure to report sexual abuse of students.  But will the Maryland legislature make that move and stand up for children?
Or will Maryland and Wyoming continue to be the only two States that refuse to hold
public school administrators accountable for failing to report sexual abuse of students? 


Maryland General Assembly
HB 787 & HB 1069

The Hon. Luke Clippinger, Chair
The Hon. Vanessa E. Atterbeary, Vice-Chair
Judiciary Committee
Hearing: February 28, 2019 – 1:00 p.m.

Testimony of Ernest A. Crofoot – In Opposition to Bill HB 787
Testimony of Ernest A. Crofoot – In support of Bill HB 1069

Good afternoon. I am Ernest A. Crofoot. I am an attorney, graduate of the University of
Baltimore School of Law, a Fellow of the Maryland Bar Foundation, member of the Peer Review
Committee of the Attorney Grievance Commission, and an Ethics instructor for the Academy for
Excellence in Local Government. However, my written and oral testimony on this bill are my
own personal assessments and do not reflect the position of any group, organization, board or
commission. I recently began providing assistance on this topic to other long-term and long-
suffering advocates.

Let me say first that I support, encourage, and beg the Legislature to pass legislation in
this area – one with teeth, one with effective protection for child abuse victims, and one that
values children victims over the concerns of highly funded special interest groups including,
but not limited to, doctors, psychiatrists, teachers, and churches.

House Bill 787 is an attempt, although a half-hearted, flawed, and short sighted one, to
create an incentive for the timely and compassionate reporting by statutorily required reporters of
suspected child abuse. Unfortunately, its shortcomings swallow its meager benefits. In contrast,
HB 1069 addresses all of the defects in HB 787 and takes Maryland on the right path to
protecting children. And, after all, isn’t that what we should be considering, rather than to
vulture-like protests of the special interest groups?

First, and most importantly, HB 787 sets an impossible evidentiary standard by, in effect,
requiring that one must have “actual knowledge” before one is required to report child abuse. In
other submitted testimony, you will see that none other than Professor Emerita Lynn McLain,
University of Baltimore School of Law, the author of the “gospel” on Maryland Evidence, has
maintained consistently that the “actual knowledge” standard is an impossible standard under
Maryland law. In effect, it would require witnessing the actual abuse before requiring a subject
person to make a report of child abuse. Professor McLain taught many of the members of this
body the rules of evidence and I give the utmost deference to her interpretations and opinions.
Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have standards that can be generally described as
“reasonable suspicion.” NONE have an “actual knowledge” evidentiary standard. In effect, the
bill requires a standard for the required reporting of suspected child abuse that is higher than
the standard juries are required to use in capital murder cases. This means that states like
Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, are ahead of the State of Maryland when it comes to
protecting children. Only Wyoming and Maryland lack the more than generally accepted
standard. Only Wyoming and Maryland lack criminal penalties.

In contrast, HB 1069 sets a reasonableness standard, one that is used throughout the
United States and DC (except for Maryland and Wyoming). The standard for guilt under HB
1069 does not change. As a criminal misdemeanor, the criminal standard of guilt would still apply.

Second (actually a “tie” for first), is that HB 787 refuses to acknowledge the historic,
longstanding, and pathetic record of the clergy in this area – not only in participating in child
abuse but using church practices to cover up rampant child abuse, physical and sexual. Any
serious bill addressing the underreporting of child abuse MUST include the clergy and members
of all religious orders and sects as required reporters. Under HB 787 it is “business as usual” for
the clergy. HB 1069, addresses this issue, and brings Maryland in line with a majority of the
48 states and DC.

Third, the bill does not create a meaningful statute of limitations for charging the offense.
One year is totally insufficient and, in effect, swallows the obligation to report. Often, the salient
facts are not known or reported by others within one year of the failure to report (the applicable
limitations period under the bill as drafted); e.g., abusers often “shop” their victims from doctor
to doctor to avoid detection or otherwise conceal abuse. HB 1069 does contain a provision
specifying by reference no limitations period, the same as for felonies. This is also the
standard proposed for civil damages claims in sexual abuses cases in HB 687, also being heard
today, which bill I wholeheartedly support.

Fourth, the seven year cap on the duty to report measured from the date the victim turns
eighteen (treasured by the medical community and the clergy) eliminates the need to report
where the abuser may be victimizing persons other than the person undergoing treatment of the
subject of the knowledge of the otherwise required reporter. For example, a twenty-five year old
patient may report that her father abused her up until she reached puberty. That father, though,
may be abusing other pre-pubescent children, and not requiring a report would further endanger
those children. HB 1069 addresses this matter and continues the duty to report as noted above.
HB 1069 addresses all of these issues in a concise, fair, and beneficial manner. HB 1069
will protect children, not special interest groups. The clergy, educators, and doctors will all tell
you that they are doing a great job as they conduct their own investigations. Look only to events
in the Catholic Church, Wicomico County Schools, Key School in Annapolis, and elsewhere to
see that this is definitely not the case.

I strongly urge this committee to give HB 787 an unfavorable vote and to vote a favorable report on HB 1069.

Thank you.

s/Ernest A. Crofoot

Monday, February 25, 2019

Breaking: Former MCPS Substitute Teacher Jose Pineda Deported. Did not Serve Out Term. Not Registered as Sex Offender.

Former MCPS substitute teacher and bus driver Jose Pineda, who was sentenced to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and the requirement to register as a sex offender in 2015 for the sexual abuse of MCPS students, did not serve out that sentence.

As of today, Jose Pineda is shown in Maryland Judiciary Case Search as having been deported.

Why was he deported? What was his status when he was working for MCPS as a bus driver and as a substitute teacher

Jose Pineda did not serve his 5 year prison sentence, is not on 5 years of probation, and is not a registered sex offender.  He is somewhere in the world free of the constraints of his sentence.  He is not being monitored by a probation officer.  Have the officials in the country he was deported to been notified of his conviction?  Is he again working with children? 

Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy spoke about the possibility of Jose Pineda being deported after his sentencing in May of 2015.  State's Attorney McCarthy said:
"He should serve his time before he is deported because unfortunately what we have seen in the past is individuals who have been summarily deported, gone back to their home country, and then simply snuck back in to the United States... More importantly, he'll be put on the Sex Offender Registry for the remainder of his life."
Below are some articles to remind readers about Jose Pineda's arrest and conviction.  Remember that Jose Pineda was one of the MCPS employees who was known to have misconduct incidents involving inapproriate touching of children, but was allowed to continue working in MCPS classrooms.

Former substitute teacher sentenced for sex offenses
May 29, 2015
WASHINGTON — A former Montgomery County substitute teacher will go to prison and will have to register as a sex offender for abuse that one victim says began back as far as 2004.

Jose Pineda, a Gaithersburg 50-year-old, pleaded guilty to two counts — one count of sex abuse of a minor and one count of a 3rd degree sex offense. On Friday, a judge sentenced him to 10 years on each count with all but five years suspended. 
Judge Joseph Dugan explained the sentences would be concurrent, meaning that Pineda will spend a total of five years in prison, and then will face supervised probation with a number of conditions including having to register as a sex offender every three months for the rest of his life...


Monday, June 1, 2015

...But Assistant State’s Attorney Timothy Hagan said Pineda violated the trust students put in their teachers. He said Pineda had been reprimanded by administrators at two schools for inappropriate sexual conduct...

...The victim who was molested in 2004 said she and her mother had reported the incident to school officials, but Pineda was allowed to continue teaching...

November 8, 2014
Montgomery County school officials are reviewing their parental
notification procedures after conceding that a mistake was made at Roberto
Clemente Middle School in Germantown.
The school’s principal, Khadija Barkley, sent a letter home to parents on
Friday, informing them that a substitute teacher was accused of having
inappropriate contact with a student September 30. The principal apologized for
not telling parents sooner...


Friday, November 14, 2014

WPost: Montgomery County police said Friday that between five and 10 other students have come forward following recent school system notifications...

...The latest case involved a substitute teacher, Jose Pineda, 50, at Roberto Clemente Middle School who is accused of inappropriately touching a 12-year-old girl. Pineda was arrested Oct. 14, on a charge of child abuse, and the Germantown school’s parents learned about it on Nov. 7.
Montgomery County police said Friday that between five and 10 other students have come forward following recent school system notifications about Pineda’s arrest. Police said that the investigation is ongoing and that they could not provide details about any of the students’ accounts.
The case at Clemente Middle comes amid an uproar at John T. Baker Middle School in Damascus, Md., where parents were angered that almost a month passed before they were notified that a contractor, John E. Epps Jr., was arrested for allegedly touching a 12-year-old girl inappropriately in a school hallway... 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Montgomery County Police held a press conference at 11 AM on Thursday, December 4, 2014, regarding the arrest of MCPS substitute teacher Jose Pineda.
The press conference video is in two parts. The first part is just about 2 minutes in length. The second video is 30 minutes.
Jose Pineda employment history:
2000-2003 MCPS school bus operator
2003-2006 MCPS substitute teacher
2006-2013 not employed by MCPS
2013-2014 MCPS substitute teacher - worked 111 times in 20 different schools
  • Police want any one with information to contact them at this number: 240-773-5400.
  • Where did Mr. Pineda work during the years when he was not with MCPS? If anyone in the community knows, please contact the Montgomery County Police.
  • If any doubt that a law has been broken, police should be called.
  • If parents think that a child has been victimized and a law has been broken they should call the police.
  • There was somewhat of a delay in getting information to the police. (September 30th incident.)
  • If anyone believes there has been a criminal offense the police should be called right away. 
  • MCPS was notified of today's press conference, but did not participate

WUSA9 Maryland delegates consider statute of limitations and child sex abuse case

WASHINGTON — Advocates and child sex abuse survivors will stand before members of the Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday to testify. The judiciary committee will have a bill before them that would remove the statute of limitations for all child sex abuse cases.
Currently, Maryland law says a victim has until age 38 to file a civil lawsuit. However, those who are older than 25 when they come forward must prove gross negligence, which is something notoriously difficult to prove.
Maryland Delegate C.T. Wilson of Charles County was part of the negotiations for the current law and has sponsored the proposed bill. The delegate has been open about the sexual abuse he experienced as a child.
“I don’t believe [38-years-old] is enough time. That was a negotiation I had with the Catholic Church at the time, as well as the gross negligence, and I’m not negotiating anymore,” said Wilson.
Delegate Wilson says House Bill 687, which will be before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday for a hearing, would remove the statute of limitations. 
The bill would make it so a child sex abuse victim could file a lawsuit no matter their age. Wilson is also adding what’s called a “two-year look back window” to include anyone precluded by the statute of limitations...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

@SenatorSusanLee Puts Forth Another Useless Bill Instead of Actually Working to Protect Children

Montgomery County State Senator Susan Lee is at it again. 

Just like last year (2018) she is putting forth a bill that pretends to address the absence of any criminal penalty for mandatory reporters (for example, MCPS administrators) who fail to report suspected sexual abuse of children (for example, former MCPS teacher John Vigna).  

Maryland and Wyoming are the ONLY two states in the nation that do not have a penalty for a mandated reporters' (for example MCPS administrators) failure to report the sexual abuse of a child.  

Montgomery County Senator Susan Lee has again filed a bill that pretends to address this problem but in reality does not protect children because the standard written into the proposed law is almost impossible to ever attain. 

Below is public comment from child advocate and sexual abuse expert Ellen Mugmon on Senator Susan Lee's Senate Bill 568.  

Isn't it time for Montgomery County elected officials to stand up for the children of Maryland who have been sexually abused by public school staff?  


Prepared by Ellen Mugmon
Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee
February 22, 2019



The underlying purpose of this bill is not to protect Maryland’s children.  Its real purpose is to continue to ensure that powerful, self-serving professionals and institutions remain unaccountable, as has been the case for over thirty years. No other state has enacted such a restrictive penalty for failing to report child abuse and neglect as proposed in this bill.  If mandatory reporters do not have “actual knowledge” of abuse or, in other words, did not witness it, then they cannot be subject to the penalty in SB 568 for failing to report, even when they suspect abuse or have other evidence that it occurred.  

Currently, certain professionals can be disciplined by licensing or certification boards for failing to report child abuse, but there is no way to discipline other mandatory reporters who do not have occupational boards. However, to our knowledge, only one professional since 1986 has ever been disciplined by a board for failure to report notwithstanding another bill, HB 245, enacted in 2016 which was supposed to increase disciplinary actions. Last session, its sponsor mentioned during a hearing that so far it has been ineffective.

Certain proponents of SB 568 know full well that the reporting law has no teeth and want to keep it that way. One dentist representing the Maryland State Dental Association previously had the temerity to testify publicly against penalties stating that she did not want to take the time to report head injuries she suspected or knew were caused by abuse. In addition, on Boychat, a pedophile chat line, pedophiles deemed a particular psychiatrist as “safe.”

It should be noted that all mandatory reporters are given immunity from both civil and criminal liability when they make good faith reports to encourage reporting. But the fact that there is no real enforcement of the law makes it, in reality, discretionary and rather than mandatory. 

Witnessing child abuse is extremely rare. Consequently, the federal law, enacted in response to the horrendous USA gymnastics scandal states: "When a mandatory reporter learns of facts that give reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of child abuse...and fails to make a timely report...the mandatory reporter shall be fined or imprisoned not more than a year or both.” Except for Maryland and Wyoming, other states’ laws are written similarly. 

In 1989, the General Assembly repealed a 1987 amendment named for Dr. Fred Berlin, a psychiatrist who treats pedophiles. This amendment had exempted health practitioners who provided psychiatric treatment to pedophiles from the mandatory reporting law.  It was unique to Maryland.  Since then the Maryland Psychiatric Society has attempted to use penalty bills such as SB 568 as vehicles to essentially reinstate the so-called Berlin exemption by negating a significant 1993 Attorney General’s opinion. See Md. Atty. Gen Op. Dec. 3, 1993. which requires the reporting of past abuse committed by pedophiles. (Prior to this session, a representative of the Society also suggested reinstating regressive language repealed in 1987 which would require reporting only when mandatory reporters contacted, examined or treated a child, not when the psychiatrist learned of abuse from the pedophile or other sources.)

SB 568 targets this Attorney General’s opinion by specifically exempting from the scope of the penalty  the failure to report abuse as soon as the victim turns 25.  Under this legislation, the shocking disclosures of the notorious Maskell Case, and others like it, would never have come to light. The Maskell case is chronicled in the Netflix series, The Keepers. The Baltimore Archdiocese, on its website, admits that it only reported Maskell as a result of this significant 26 year-old Attorney General’s opinion. SB 568, nonetheless, undermines it.

This backward provision would not just apply to the Catholic hierarchy and psychiatrists who learn of abuse from sex offenders, it would affect the safety of children in all settings. Placing a cap on the victim’s age means that Rachael Denhollander, who was one of 250 gymnasts who were victims of Larry Nassar and who was 31-years-old when she became the first one to disclose her victimization, would never come to Maryland to support SB 568 as part of her activism. Under this bill, a mandatory reporter would be able to say that she was too old to require a report  to authorities, and that her disclosure did not provide the requisite “actual knowledge” either.

The bill’s one year statute of limitations, which would require that the failure to report would have had to be discovered by authorities within one year, would further ensure that the possibility of a prosecution would be almost impossible.

The passage of SB 568 would additionally undermine Maryland’s civil reporting law.  It would muddy the understanding of the circumstances under which reporting is required. Because there would be two standards, “reason to believe” and “actual knowledge,” mandatory reporters may be confused as to which standard to apply. This would encourage them to delay reporting or not report at all.  After all, the state is only going to enforce the law if the mandatory reporter witnesses abuse.

This bill additionally appears to contravene another Attorney General’s opinion.  The phrase, “DOES NOT INCLUDE A DUTY TO INVESTIGATE,” implies that conducting internal investigations by schools prior to reporting is their choice. In a 1991 opinion, however, the Attorney General clearly stated that internal investigations conducted prior to reporting suspected abuse to the police and departments of social services to determine if there is a “reason to believe” to report are against the law. This provision is also troubling because it would sustain the Catholic bishop’s practice of conducting internal investigations prior to reporting to determine if allegations are credible. This is a long standing problem. Maryland’s reporting law does not include  the term or definition of what a credible allegation is. Apparently bishops themselves have various definitions for the term, and internal investigation prior to reporting whether in schools or other institutions compromise subsequent investigations by the police and social services and allow abusers and those who wish to cover up for them the opportunity to destroy evidence and place pressure on victims to remain silent.   

Therefore, SB 568’s ostensible purpose of protecting children is a pretext for furthering the agenda of powerful, self-interested professional groups and institutions. It would confirm that Maryland is an outlier state.

It would also be a way of getting the penalty issue off everyone’s plate by passing something.  Unfortunately, in this case, something is not better than nothing. Children’s interests deserve to be made the priority instead of mandatory reporters and certain institutions which refuse to protect them.

Breaking: MSDE Confirms MCPS Teacher John Vigna's Teaching License was Not Revoked Because He Voluntarily Surrendered It @MdPublicSchools @MarylandSCCAN @paulpinsky @ericluedtke @clarencelammd

As we reported on February 15, 2019, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) did not revoke MCPS teacher John Vigna's teaching license even though State Regulations call for the license of a teacher after notice of an allegation of child sexual abuse to be revoked.

On Twitter, we asked MSDE for an explanation of why John Vigna's teaching license was not revoked.  MSDE responded that John Vigna "voluntarily surrendered" his license. 

The Maryland Regulations do not state that a "voluntary surrender" can bypass the mandatory revocation of a teaching license. 

We have again asked MSDE for an explanation of why John Vigna's name is not listed on their public list of teachers who have had their licenses revoked. 

WTOP: Fight at Magruder HS leaves Montgomery Co. defending medical policy

...Montgomery County police are investigating, but it’s unclear how long that will take since the hospitalized child won’t be questioned immediately.
“Our main concern is about the health and welfare of anyone who’s been injured. That’s our primary concern,” Montgomery County police Capt. Tom Jordan said.
“Our secondary concern is to determine the facts and circumstances around the incident and charge anyone appropriately, if warranted,” Jordan added.
After the boy was picked up from school, Jordan said it was the hospitalized child’s parent who reported the incident to 911.
“The school will look into it, and they will determine whether proper protocol was followed,” Jordan said. “Our investigators will be looking at all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the mutual assault.”..

Monday, February 18, 2019

A due process hearing against #MCPS is open to the public tomorrow [Tuesday] morning at 9:00 am at MCPS headquarters at 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, MD

@ABC7Kevin: EXCLUSIVE: Sherwood High School staff member charged w/ attempted murder

MCPS Board of Education Sued for Allowing John Vigna To Stay in Classroom After Abuse Allegations Surfaced

The Montgomery County school system is disputing claims that it was negligent by allowing a former Silver Spring elementary school teacher to molest a third-grade student “almost daily” in 2014 even after they knew he had been reprimanded in 2008 for holding children on his lap...

...The new lawsuit, filed in September, claims school officials failed to act to remove him from the classroom after learning of Vigna’s actions years earlier.
Attorneys for the schools argue the girl’s accusations against the school system and employees should have been addressed earlier. The school system’s lawyers also argued nobody with authority to fire Vigna was aware he was sexually abusing students. They asked that Jane Doe’s lawsuit be dismissed in December but a judge has scheduled a jury trial for October...

Maryland is failing to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities

Jeneva Burroughs Stone is a member of Little Lobbyists.
I attended the Disability Integration Act reintroduction ceremony as a member of Little Lobbyists, a parent-led organization of families with children with complex medical needs and disabilities. As Elena Hung , the co-founder of Little Lobbyists, said at the ceremony, “We want to make sure [our children] have the support in place to live the best lives and maximize their independence in the community and be here with us and not in institutions far away.”

That statement hit me hard, because my husband and I have been placed in a no-win situation by Maryland. Now, our financial future is pitted against our love for our son...
...The problem isn’t the state’s Developmental Disabilities Administration, which assesses REM waivers, nor the state legislature. It’s the Maryland Division of Nursing Services, which processes applications for skilled nursing services, and the Maryland attorney general’s office, which reflexively backs up the nursing division’s internal guidelines that keep private-duty nursing hours at a minimum for Maryland families. In effect, the attorney general’s office is pitting the implementation of one Medicaid program against another at the expense of people such as my son...