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Some educator licenses survive sex convictions

Posted: 4:43 PM, May 20, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-23 10:00:05-04

INDIANAPOLIS –   Records show several teachers convicted of child seduction crimes have not had their educator licenses revoked, as is required by Indiana law.

Former Greenwood High School teacher Timothy Guilfoy , caught having sex with a student, pleaded guilty in 2014 to two counts of felony child seduction.

Yet current records show Guilfoy’s license is listed as “valid” on the Indiana Department of Education website.

Similarly, former Noblesville High School teacher Michael Douce pleaded guilty in August 2015 to two counts of child seduction for inappropriate relationships with two female students.

He is currently serving prison time, but the IDOE website shows his license as “valid.”

Indiana law states that the IDOE shall permanently revoke an educator’s license, after holding a hearing on the matter, for those convicted of child seduction, sexual misconduct with a minor, and other felony crimes.

The law does not, however, give a deadline or a timeline for revoking the license.

“I am very concerned, and I am sure all legislators will be concerned,” said Rep. Robert Behning, (R) Indianapolis, Chairman of the House Committee on Education. “We are definitely interested in the safety of the children, and when we find out the law isn’t being followed. The (law says) the license shall be revoked if they’ve been convicted of child seduction, or any time of child sexual act, and we want to make sure that’s swift.”

Behning said the law requiring felony convicts to lose their teaching license is in place to protect children and also to punish teachers who abuse children, and prevent them from getting a teaching job elsewhere.

“We want to protect kids in Indiana and across the country,” said Behning.

A legislative summer study committee is expected to look at ways to improve the reporting of sexual misconduct violations in schools.

The committee could look at what measures need to be put in place to prevent convicts from falling through the cracks, including a timeline for the IDOE to revoke the license.

“Now that you bring it up obviously it would be something that, any type of language we move forward will have to have  include a period of time from the time they receive a record that it has to be followed through on,” said Behning. “It’s very difficult to enforce education law unless the prosecutor gets involved. We don’t have police enforcement at that level.”

Behning also questioned why the IDOE needs to hold a license hearing if the teacher was criminally convicted.

In criminal cases, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

The license suspension and revocation process is handled separately from the criminal process, however, earlier this week an IDOE spokesperson said they work with prosecutors when criminal charges are filed against a teacher.

“We ask that when they do any plea negotiations they include the license forfeiture in the plea as opposed to having to do a separate process that would put any additional burden on victims," said Altman.

Call 6 Investigates did not find any mention of license revocation in plea agreements for Douce and Guilfoy.

IDOE spokesperson Daniel Altman declined to go into detail on specific cases with Call 6 Investigates on Friday.
“We anticipate completing the revocation process for these individuals soon,” said Altman. “When individuals are incarcerated, that can slow down the revocation process due to due process concerns.” 

Former Harrison County Indiana teacher Kellen Hubert was convicted in July 2015 of child seduction, but his educator license is listed as “expired” not revoked.

Both Hubert and Guilfoy are listed in the Indiana Sex Offender registry, and Douce is currently incarcerated in state prison.

It’s not immediately clear if the state of Indiana violated the state statute that requires convicted felons to have their educator licenses revoked, and even if there was a violation, it’s also not clear if the state could face any sanctions or repercussions as a result.

In light of several recent teacher sex scandals, Call 6 Investigates started looking into what measures are in place to protect your children in the classroom from those accused of sexual misconduct.

Kisha Nuckols and Shana Taylor, both criminally charged with child seduction, still have valid licenses with the state of Indiana, records show.

In Indiana, you need a license if you have ongoing and regular contact with children in a public school district.

Nuckols served as a teacher’s aide and substitute teacher in the Mt. Vernon school district, and Taylor worked as a counselor in Indianapolis Public Schools.

MORE | Mt. Vernon Schools teacher's aide accused of child seduction | Principal charged with failure to immediately report child abuse allegations | Why did Mt. Vernon wait 17 days to report alleged abuse? | IPS counselor charged with child seduction | IPS officials waited 6 days to report alleged child sex abuse

Local school boards fired Nuckols and Taylor from their positions while the criminal charges are pending.

Indiana code says the Indiana Department of Education, on written recommendation from the superintendent of public instruction, may suspend or revoke a license for immorality, misconduct, incompetency or willful neglect of duty.

However, Call 6 Investigates has learned that the IDOE has not taken any action against Nuckols or Taylor, and their licenses are valid.

“Yes, we can take action, but our stance is we want to let the criminal process work its way through," said Altman.  “We can’t talk about specific cases, particularly while a case is pending.”

Altman said teacher background checks, performed by schools, would turn up criminal charges, not just convictions.

“If an individual is found not guilty, they wouldn't have a criminal conviction that would show up on their record,” said Altman on Wednesday. “With something like that, it would have to be looked at on a case by case basis.”

21 educator licenses were suspended or revoked in Indiana in 2014, and ten were suspended/revoked in 2015, according to the IDOE.

Park Tudor coach and chemistry teacher Kyle Cox recently agreed to plead guilty to coercion and enticement.

Call 6 Investigates checked to see if the state has taken action against his license.

However, Cox did not have a teaching license, according to a school spokesperson. Cox resigned from the school on Dec. 15. 

The school allegedly allowed Cox to take a school computer off of school property and remove "personal" files from it. He returned the computer the next day.

That same day, the school signed a confidentiality agreement with Cox which, among other things, prohibited him from talking to any Park Tudor students and from discussing the reason for his resignation.

A new Indiana law goes into effect July 1 that limits confidentiality agreements, helping schools to share sexual misconduct information with other schools.

The Indiana State Teachers Association released a statement Wednesday to Call 6 Investigates regarding teacher licensing and sexual misconduct.

“A teacher’s license should be revoked if convicted of misconduct. Period,” read the statement. “A hearing must be provided for anyone who is threatened with license revocation and many people who have committed a crime do not challenge the license revocation.”

Call 6 Investigates followed up with ISTA on Friday after finding several convicted teachers still have not had their licenses revoked.

“There is not much we can add because those individuals who get their licenses revoked after they are convicted of a crime are no longer employed by a school corporation and no longer a member of the association, said Kim Clements-Johnson, spokesperson for the Indiana State Teachers Association. “Therefore, we are not involved in license revocation proceedings where someone has been convicted of a crime.”