By all indications it appears that numerous school administrators broke the law, along with IPS policies, when they waited almost a week to call authorities. IPS has launched an internal investigation to determine whether or not its reporting was consistent with the district's legal obligations.
Despite graphic photos and text messages, credible evidence that Shana Taylor was having sex with one of her students, detectives say IPS administrators didn't notify authorities until six days later, according to court documents. Experts insist that gave the guidance counselor ample time to destroy evidence and put her alleged victims in danger.
Jack Crawford is a defense attorney and former prosecutor.
"How do we know how many victims are out there? The safety of the child is the most important consideration," he said.
Crawford claims lost time can amount to lost evidence.
"The case can go down the drain in six days. Viewers and others know within the first 24 or 48 hours is the most ample time to get evidence," Crawford explained.
State law, IPS policy and administrative guidelines obtained by Eyewitness News all require employees to immediately report suspected child abuse and neglect to the Department of Child Services.
Instead, court records show the assistant principal of Longfellow Alternative School notified his superiors and passed along the evidence. None of the administrators notified DCS, either. There is no indication of them even calling the school police.
IPS did say in a statement Tuesday that Taylor was suspended as soon as it learned of the allegations, and that she's being recommended for termination.
A human resources case worker questioned Taylor, put her on administrative leave and then, only after obtaining a statement from her alleged victim, told the school to call DCS.This is completely unacceptable and has exposed IPS to massive, costly lawsuits. And this comes right after the out-of-touch IPS board voted to give Supt. Louis Ferebee a gigantic pay raise. They voted for that pay raise knowing that this counselor had sexually abused students, and they should have been demanding answers from Dr. Ferebee about his staff's handling of the investigation to make sure the Department of Child Services had been notified immediately as required by state law. It is even more shocking when you consider this all happened after the bombshell reports of Park Tudor's fumbling after learning of the accusations against Kyle Cox. The IPS board must demand Dr. Ferebee's immediate resignation, along with any other member of his staff he failed to comply with state law.
According to court documents, Taylor had sex with at least two male students over the course of four months, and they suspect there are other victims as well. At least some of these sexual encounters took place on school property. You can bet there will be lawsuits filed against the school, and you can bet IPS will be paying out big settlement payments, along with large legal bills it will incur with its outside legal counsel, Faegre Baker Daniels, to dispose of these matters. Some of the IPS board members should reconsider whether they are fit to continue serving and think about resigning. Are you listening, Kelly Bentley and Mary Ann Sullivan?