Imagine that you’re a high school student, and a person who you know well recently passed away. You’re confused and conflicted, so you confide in one of your trusted teachers for help. Somehow, in the crazy, mixed-up emotional state the two of you are in, a sexual relationship evolves out of that.
Now, many years later, you are a teacher yourself. You never sought any therapy after the unorthodox relationship you had with your teacher. In fact, you didn’t tell anyone. After a class, your door opens and one of your students comes to you in that same conflicted and confused state that you were in so many years ago. You try to help the student — but history repeats itself. You get mixed up in a sexual relationship with your student.
Obviously this isn’t imaginable for most people — but for Jim Cunneely, a once revered teacher in New Jersey, he lives this nightmare every day of his life. This is exactly what happened to him, and in 2007, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to sexual assault. He is a registered sex offender, and he’ll almost certainly never teach again, barring some extreme circumstances. His life is forever changed, just like his victim’s life will never be the same either.
We return to one of the lines in our post yesterday about this story: there are very sensitive and difficult issues at play in sex crimes. In this particular case, the abuser was a victim earlier in his life. That doesn’t make his actions acceptable by any means. But, this is a complicated and unfortunate case, and there are many sex crime cases where the offender isn’t necessarily the horrible person that he or she is made out to be.
Source: NJ.com, “A Teacher’s Betrayal,” Mark Mueller, Nov. 10, 2014