Monday, November 18, 2013

Baylor president writes letter of support for child molester

Kenneth Starr

Tucked away in a Washington Post article last month was the news that Baylor University’s president Ken Starr wrote a letter of support on behalf of a child molesting school teacher.

Baylor is the largest Baptist university in the world, and Ken Starr is the man at the top. Formerly, Starr served as a federal judge, as the United States Solicitor General, and as a special prosecutor during the presidency of Bill Clinton.

The child molester who inspired Starr’s letter is Christopher Kloman. For nearly 30 years, Kloman taught at the elite Potomac School in Virginia, which Starr’s own daughter attended.

Faced with multiple accusations of having molested female students, Kloman pled guilty last summer to four counts of indecent liberties with a child younger than 14 and one count of abduction with intent to defile.

At Kloman’s sentencing hearing in October, five victims provided what was described as “harrowing”accounts of the sexual abuse they suffered as kids and of the long-lasting impact it had on their lives. One woman testified that school officials had been informed about Kloman’s conduct, but that they merely sent him for counseling.

“My sense of self-esteem had been crushed,” she said. “No one thought what he did was bad enough to help me.”

As reported by the Post, “some of the women testified that they had been through years of therapy after the abuse. For decades, most never revealed what had happened.”

Despite the enormous harm that Kloman caused in so many lives, and despite Kloman’s guilty plea, over 90 people wrote letters on Kloman’s behalf in anticipation of his sentencing hearing.

Among those letters was one from Ken Starr, the president of Baylor University. According to the Wikipedia account, Ken Starr urged leniency for Kloman, and asked that the judge sentence Kloman to community service rather than jail time.

Thank goodness the judge on this case had a good deal more sense and sensibility than Ken Starr. Kloman was sentenced to 43 years.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering why anyone should believe that Baylor University officials learned any lesson at all from the horrific saga of murdering minister Matt Baker – a minister who got his start at Baylor where officials simply filed away a sexual assault report – when even today we see that Baylor’s current president will write a letter in support of a child molester.
Why should parents of high-school students feel any trust in sending their kids off to a university whose president writes a letter urging leniency for a man who molested teens?

Thanks to Frederick Clarkson for quoting this posting in his 12/10/2013 article in the Daily Kos.