Wednesday, March 15, 2006

THE ROUNTREE BUZZ

Our earlier brief on the arrest of a Rountree Elementary School staffer certainly won't be the last word on the case. Even before news of the arrest became public, parents in the central-Springfield area were talking about the teacher, Mark Washam.

Our sources say a "good-touch, bad-touch" assembly brought the allegations against Washam to the surface. The school calendar shows third- and fifth-graders had a "Better Safe Than Sorry" presentation on March 1; police say the first child-abuse hotline call in the case was made March 2 -- coincidentally, Washam's 42nd birthday.

Police say they conducted interviews with "victims and their families" the next day. Washam was arrested Monday, but has not been charged with a crime. Missouri law requires a charge within 20 hours of an arrest, or the suspect is released.

The Springfield Police Department named Washam in its news release. But mainstream media outlets are holding off, for now.

The News-Leader didn't name Washam in its Wednesday afternoon news update, but identified the school as Rountree.

KYTV went one step further, reporting that "because no formal charges are filed, KY3 News isn’t identifying the school because it would identify the teacher."

KOLR didn't have the story on its web site as of Wednesday evening.

KSPR, the ABC affiliate, hasn't updated its news page since Feb. 13.

18 comments:

A.McSholty said...

Has KSPR even had a current newscast since Feb. 13? Heh.

DocLarry said...

KOLR now has the story on their web site, including this sentence:

"Police Thursday said the employee was arrested Monday."

Evidently the news team at KOLR is clairvoyant, for they can report the future.

RSmith said...

Washam split time between Hickory Hills elementary and Rountree. This is his first year at Rountree. He's been at Hickory for several years, I think.

Anonymous said...

Ummmmm,
I gotta say IF this guy is guilty, it's pretty disgusting.
HOWEVER, ecspecially in cases like this, I really think responsible news sources AND the police need to hold off naming the guy. If he is innocent, he will never be able to shake the stigma.
So my question is, should his name appeared on this site?

Anonymous said...

He was arrested and they said they plan to file charges, it's just a question of how many. It would be irresponsible NOT to name him. I seem to remember O.J. Simspon being named before he was charged. We often have other cases where the charges lag a day or two behind the arrest. You have to take them on a case-by-case basis.

Anonymous said...

Forget Web sites, Red. One of the stations showed Washam's mugshot on their report last night at 5; can't remember which, but I think it was KSPR.

These allegations were made long before March 2 and the 'good touch, bad touch' presentation. Rumors were swirling in late January. The presentation just kicked things up a notch. That's where the trouble lies for SPS. Who knew when, and why wasn't it reported to the state or higher-ups?

Anonymous said...

I'm yanking my little girl out of SPS right away and enrolling her into Catholic school. At least I'll know she'll be safe there.

Anonymous said...

Is that supposed to be sarcastic? It would have to be given the sexual turmoil surrounding the Catholic religion these days. SPS schools are as safe as any. Sexual molestation can and does take place anywhere and everywhere. This case is just a bad deal all the way around (and we still don't know that anything actually happened; proven in a court of law and all that), but the situation does not and should not reflect poorly on public schools and Rountree in particular.

Anonymous said...

It's a fact that historically, of all reported cases of child sexual abuse, the vast majority of perps are family members and paramours (mom's boyfriend, etc.), NOT teachers or clergy, Catholic or otherwise.

Maybe the concerned writer should consider yanking his/her daughter out of his/her own home, as well as taking her out of public school, just to be completely safe. Protective basement custody until she's 21 or legally emancipated, whichever comes first.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend? I always suspected that SOB. First I'm gonna shoot that scoundrel, then I'm gonna yank my daughter out of SPS right away, THEN I'm gonna HOME shool her.

RSmith said...

You know, once a story like this comes out, the accused teacher's career, at least in this area, is toast, regardless of his guilt or innocense. I'm really curious to see how this plays out - this guy worked for years at my school without any problems. Mandated reporter issues are also in play here - I'm sure Darrell Moore is all over that.

Anonymous said...

You must be kidding me. SPS are not safe at all, nor have they been accountable for YEARS. They asked the public for more money one year, and what did we get? A NEW FOOTBALL STADIUM!!! Is that why we voted them more money?? That vote was 7 or 8 years ago. SPS are not safe whatsoever, there is no accountability anywhere in that system.

Anonymous said...

I have known the accused and family for over 20 years and I would invite them into my home to stay anytime, anywhere. He is totally innocent and I will always stand beside the family.

Anonymous said...

I was a fifth grader at the year 05-06 (last year) at Rountree Elementary School. I witnessed the sexual harassment as well as the 'good touch bad touch' film. And I know the people that were harassed. They are trustworthy people and just because they are children dosen't mean we cannot belive them. I was called down from my classroom and 'interviewed' by the police. My parents DID recieve a phone call telling them that I was being interviewed. Mark Washam was not what you would call a nice PE teacher. He would 'help' a student do a pushup and it looked kind of like he was touching her breasts and groin (this was in December). I did not think he did it on purpose at the time. Then, after Winter Vacation, a lady from some family violence center came in and showed us a tape about a good touch and a bad touch. After the tape rumors started swirling. When I got out of the audiotorium (where the tape was held) I saw 3 girls rushing to the principals office to report Washam. She didn't belive them. Soon later a girl whos name I shall not mention walked down to the principal and gave her a note telling her about Washam. Sometime after that the police were told, everyone in the Fifth Grade was interviewed and he was charged.
Peace out

Anonymous said...

Mark Washam got 3 years in the big house and Harreylson got 1 year.

Anonymous said...

I currently am at Central High School and Washam is my study hall teacher, and I have noticed he still shows some creepiness about that kind of stuff. I was just wondering if he did the stuff he did, why did Central let him be a teacher there.

Anonymous said...

I am also a freshmen at central in his study hall and I can see a lot of creepy things in that class like some girls put on makeup and he asks if he can use it and he always asks us really weird and personal questions that most of us don't answer but he is really creepy and I'm just wondering why central hired him because he teaches more than 3 different classes

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