A London school teacher was acquitted of raping one of his students after a jury met for just 26 minutes, according to Metro.
Kato Harris, 37, was accused of attacking one of his female students three times after asking her to stay behind in his classroom during lunch breaks.
Harris' defense was that such attacks would have been “completely impossible” because his door would have been open and staff or students could see into and enter the room at any time.
He also claimed that he believed the girl may have made up the whole thing to get back at him for making fun of a “silly face” she was making in a school photo.
Evidently, the jury — made up of seven men and five women — believed Harris as they cleared him of all charges.
This is a prime example of someone abusing their power, and then using that same power and status to get away with their wrongful acts.
Harris was head of geography and assistant head at the North London School where the alleged rapes took place. Since these accusations have come to light, he has been suspended from his job.
He had a support system made up of fellow teachers and colleagues who rallied behind him. Metro reports that he dropped to his knees and sobbed upon hearing the verdict while his supporters applauded.
A former headteacher at the school where Harris worked said that the allegations were “unbelievable” and noted that, “He did his job extremely well. He was a passionate geographer. Every day he had a packed classroom.”
“As a teacher, he was outstanding, bordering on brilliant. Pupils adored his lessons. He was a problem-solving member of staff. If I were still a headteacher, I would employ him in a heartbeat,” the former colleague added.
This case is extremely disturbing. For one thing, how could the jury have adequately reviewed all the evidence, analyzed statements from the defense and prosecution, and gotten the entire group of 12 to come to a consensus in less than 30 minutes?
The rape and abuse of a child, especially by a trusted educator, is way too serious of a case to handle so lightly.
Furthermore, it seems rather odd that the jury was comprised of more men than women.
The verdict in this case is indicative of a widespread rape culture issue that only seems to be worsening.
In the U.S., a Stanford University student and athlete was sentenced to a mere six months in prison after being tried for raping an unconscious, intoxicated woman — his case sparked public outrage, but the damage was done.
In Germany, a woman was fined $27,000 for her own rape that was recorded and posted online after a judge declared her accusations to be false because she “appeared” to consent to the sex and only objected to the filming. Meanwhile, her attackers were only fined $1,500 each for wrongfully making and distributing the tape.
In another U.S. case, a student-athlete in New Hampshire, who was accused of sexually harassing a classmate, was “punished” by being instructed to bake bread for his victim and deliver it to her on a weekly basis.
These nonchalant responses to violating another person’s body in such vile ways send a problematic message that this behavior is okay in the eyes of society.
This needs to change urgently. Sexual predators deserve a punishment equal to the pain and trauma they cause their victims.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters