The words “child sexual abuse” are horrific all by themselves. But when you add phrases like “no obligation to inform”, “statute of limitations” and “let sleeping dogs lie”, you end up with a catastrophic scandal akin to the media storm that has rocked the Catholic Church over the last few decades.
William Bricker, a 94-year-old retired camp counselor and Physical Education teacher, is originally from Michigan and has returned here to be cared for in his retirement years. But he is now looking at being extradited back to Wyoming, where the accusations of sexual abuse against minors are coming out of the woodwork at an alarming rate.
In an effort to be honest and forthcoming, the Winnetka School District 36 where Bricker was formerly employed, has released to the public hundreds of pages of Bricker’s personal records from his time there. Many are innocuous, but there are a few that indicate that Bricker’s child abuse behavior had not gone unnoticed.
A particular memo, dated the 23rd of February 1995, is handwritten and therefore not as easy to decipher as if it had been typed. But it does appear to contain a number of phrases and notes that indicate that Bricker’s sexual proclivities were known to at least a handful of individuals in the school district.
The rather ambiguous ““Could have 100 children abused”, which doesn’t make grammatical sense but is horrifying in it’s implied meaning, is one of the more disturbing of the notes scrawled in the memo. But phrases like “letting sleeping dogs lie may be more helpful” and “no proof” are equally damaging in the child abuse case.
The page is unsigned and, as of yet, no one knows who wrote it. But it certainly causes one to wonder who at Hubbard Woods Elementary School, where Bricker was employed as a teacher, knew what was happening, and why no one spoke up at the time.
When the memo was written the school was under the supervision of Superintendent Rebecca van der Bogert. But that was 20 years ago and almost no one who worked there then is still in the school’s employ. This is one of the reasons that, according to the local district attorney, the current school district is choosing not to comment on the memo.
But not everyone is accepting this at face value. An attorney who represents one of the child abuse victims is speaking out, asking why the district never reported the claims, even if Bricker no longer worked there. In explaining his frustration to a media source, he referred to the mentality behind this choice as myopic. In essence: just because someone is no longer a threat in your organization, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a threat elsewhere.