Local Tacoma teacher Keisha Shaw has been charged with five counts of child rape (TNT, 7-7). It is certainly possible, if not likely, that supporting evidence against Shaw as published in The News Tribune and other media is incomplete. What has been made available, however, seems rather lean.
Recent stories such as that concerning Jerry Sandusky, and Mary Kay Letourneau before him, remind us of the importance of hyper vigilance where adult conduct around kids is concerned. Still, it is undeniable that many people have been unjustly sentenced to life in prison for crimes they did not commit, based on little more than the word of an accuser.
While many teachers are standing before classrooms today who simply should not be there, significant numbers of young people also bring troubles of their own to school, thanks to inattentive parents or the otherwise dysfunctional households from which the students hail.
In the course of investigating Shaw for the crimes of which she stands accused, one can only hope that an equal, if not greater, level of diligence has been done as it pertains to the background and psychological state of the young man who made the accusations.
A woman’s future and freedom are at stake. A legitimate desire to avoid repeating the mistakes of others is not sufficient cause to rush to judgment now. If available evidence truly boils down to a case of “he said/she said,” the accuser must prove to be someone who can and should be taken at his word.