Remember Ingmar Guandique-Blanco, the man convicted and then cleared of killing congressional intern Chandra Levy?
Well, he’s back home in El Salvador, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, who footed the bill for his deportation, federal officials said Monday.
The Levy murder happened in 2001, and Guandique-Blanco was “a documented MS-13 gang member” and already had a lengthy criminal record,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — the type of ne’er-do-well law enforcers are struggling to keep track of.
Your eyes and ears are as crucial as ever when it comes to public safety, and immigration is not the linchpin for the most part. Surely, you’ve read or heard tell of predators who lie in wait to pounce on our children, especially those who are school age.
Among the most notorious cases this century is that of Jerry Sandusky, who faced dozens of child molestation charges as a Penn State assistant coach and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
There’s also the former teacher’s aide in Prince George’s County, Deonte Carraway, who pleaded guilty in January to federal charges of sexually abusing 12 students. Allegations against this sicko included directing grade-schoolers to perform sex acts on each other from October 2015 to February 2016. He faces up to 100 years in prison.
In addition — and perhaps because of the Carraway case, more than 500 Prince George’s County school employees have been placed on administrative leave this school year as a result of child abuse and neglect allegations.
Talk about a scandal.
Now listen. It’s always disturbing when news breaks about children falling into the hands of adults who are supposed to be their stewards and protectors, or any other adult for that matter. Which is why this next case, here again in a school setting, is so damning.
The place is Estill, South Carolina, about an hour’s drive from Hilton Head. The town has a population of about 2,000 — not quite the fictional Mayberry, but certainly a place where mostly everybody knows your family’s name.
Anyway, according to a grandma who is in disbelief, two of her now-teenage granddaughters are victims in a scandal at Estill Middle School.
“The numbers are horrific: At least four students, ages 11 to 14, victimized by as many as 30 children in one of the largest single cases of sexual assault reported on U.S. school grounds,” The Associated Press reported Monday.
Get that? Four students, 30 child perps, sexual assault, school grounds. Many of the crimes occurred in the gym restroom.
“Boys and girls ranging from 11 to 16 were sneaking into the gym bathroom to engage in sexual activity, according to the sheriff’s office investigative report, which classified the conduct as forcible rape, forcible fondling and disorderly conduct,” the AP reported.
“The teachers, staff, and administration regularly failed to supervise students in the gym and regularly allowed students of the opposite sex to enter the bathroom with each other,” the grandmother’s lawsuit alleges. The report goes on to say, “(the suit claims) the school demonstrated ‘gross negligence’ by allowing, or at least ignoring, student sex on school grounds.”
Law enforcers said the probe revolved around “he said, she said” testimony, so no charges have been leveled against anyone. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
The grandma’s granddaughters, meanwhile, remain traumatized.
The Estill case is mindful of a Rockville, Maryland, case in which a ninth-grader said two Hispanic boys raped her in a high school restroom. Prosecutors initially charged the suspects — Henry Sanchez Milian, 18, and Jose Montano, 17 — with sexual assault.
Those charges were dropped last week, though, and now, like Guandique-Blanco, they face deportation: Mr. Sanchez Milian to Guatemata, Mr. Montano to El Salvador.
Interesting, too, is something else the AP discovered during its journalistic probe: “In a yearlong investigation, The Associated Press uncovered about 17,000 official reports of sex assaults by students in U.S. elementary and secondary schools over a four-year period.
“That tally is an undercount because such attacks are widely underreported, and states vary in their efforts to track, classify and catalog sexual violence by students.”
So get this straight. Our children are vulnerable to these nasty predators inside a “safe space” or what’s supposed to be a safe space — a schoolhouse.
And the predators are preying on boys and girls.
The signs on the restroom doors mean nary a thing, people. Except — E-X-C-E-P-T — pay close attention to who’s who and what’s what.
If you think merely sending your child to school for the better part of their day guarantees their safety while you’re at work, you’d better think again.
The doors swung wide once sex ed outside of the home became a staple in public education, and the U.S.-Mexico border became a sieve long before El Chapo began making a name for himself by tending to America’s drug demands.
Deportations solve part of the problem, to be sure.
But please, please, please mind the children. They are blessings, you know.
• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.