Missouri: Amy Hestir Davis Student Protection Act - Student abused by a Jr. High School teacher

The Missouri Legislature is making changes to their Statutory Rape laws

There's a lot going on in the Missouri Legislature these days. In addition to age changes and tightening up the statutory rape laws with the introduction of House Bill 1382, on February 6, 2008 Amy Hestir Davis spoke to Missouri lawmakers in support of HB1314 titled “The Amy Hestir Davis Student Protection Act" which passed the house. Amy Hestir Davis told a disturbing and unsettling story recalling events that allegedly happened to her while in junior high school.

Unfortunately, Amy's story may sound all too familiar to many people as it is revealed in congressional investigation that nearly one in ten students in the USA has been subjected to sexual misconduct by a school employee sometime during their school years.

Among many other things, this House Bill will require “Annual” background checks for teachers, get rid of the non-disclosure clauses between districts and will add a number of offenses the list of conduct teacher’s can lose their teaching certification over. This bill will also address removing or extending the statute of limitations law for specific sex crimes.

Next, you will read the transcribed testimony of Amy Hestir Davis before the Missouri House Education Committee.

Amy Hestir Davis Testimony:

Transcribed from the audio recording of her tesimony before the Missouri House Education Committee

Good evening, I’m Amy and I’m 40 years old now. My story takes us back to when I was 12 years old and I entered the 7th grade and it ends when I left the 8th grade the summer after.

I was a shy kid. I came from kind of a troubled home and I appreciate the extra attention that I got from a teacher at my Jr. High School that was nicknamed the “Art Coach”. I grew up in north central Missouri. I don’t have anything to hide here and frankly I’m just going to explain this all out to you the best that I can I’m a little bit nervous. This is only the second time I’ve discussed this but I will do my best I can and I’ll answer what ever questions you have to the best of my abilities.

The Art Coach is still a teacher to this day. He teaches in Southeast Missouri. He’s been able to remain a teacher for many many years for reasons that weighed heavily on my heart; and when I read the articles that were published by the Associated Press in the papers, I thought about it for a few days and I couldn’t stay quiet any longer. I thought that I was the only person that was ever sexually abused by a teacher.

I contacted the Associate Press and um, got more information about what they did and was a fortunate to come into contact with Jane and to feel like for the first time in my life I have what is the darkest period of my life growing up and the worse thing that has ever happened to me in my life and make something good out of it to the benefit of other children here in Missouri, and it has nation, a national impact as well. Missouri is one of the early states working on addressing this issue.

I never told any adult about what happened to me at the time; and that put “time” on my teachers side. When I finally did, it was not quite 10 years later and the statute of limitations had changed um from 7 years for um sexual a mistreatment abuse of a minor, to ten; I told in right about in year nine and a half and it was investigated in Randolph county which was my home county. But the prosecuting attorney at that time um did not choose to file it; um which as I’m understanding it came down to a lack of nerve.

So my case went into a circular file and has remained there for quite some time. The reason I never told anybody was because of the guilt and the shame and the fear that the teacher instilled in me. He had me convinced that I would ruin my life, I would ruin my families life, whom I certainly loved dearly, and I would ruin his life; he would never teach again in Missouri, I would shame his family, and for some reason, at the age of 13 and 14, that was enough for me to be quiet. The idea of hurting my family was enough to make me think that I should just bear the horrible truth alone.

And so, out of all of this fear, I consented to a ongoing sexual relationship with this teacher that lasted well over a year. There was a few friends I … will tell you that I did speak with that I am glad to this day um that I did share with somebody. I just wish that I told somebody that could have really helped me.

I would meet my teacher during his planning hour... um. I also became a babysitter to him and his wife for their young daughter. When ever Id baby sit for him he would take long drives from his house back to dropping me off at my own. Sometimes I would ride my bike to school in the spring and then I would ride to his house after school and I would stay there until right before his wife would get off work at 5:00, and go home.

During the summer months off school, he worked for a small cleaning company there in Moberly, and he cleaned for the First Baptist Church. I would also ride there after going to the swimming pool my family belonged to and meet him there at the Church. But it was ultimately there that I would choose to end the relationship. But I’ll explain that to you in a little while

Testimony continued...page 2 of 2

For more commentary and a recording of the testimony, please visit http://www.missourinet.com

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