Experts say DeFluri case all too common

Advocates are weighing in on an issue they say is often ignored.

Posted: May 6, 2021 6:57 PM
Updated: May 6, 2021 7:43 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- Former Thurston High School teacher Lisa DeFluri was sentenced on Thursday, and experts and victim advocates are speaking out about school employee sexual misconduct.

RELATED: FORMER THURSTON TEACHER GETS 7 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SEX ABUSE

"It is an epidemic," said SESAME executive director Terri Miller. "It is the one child safety issue in schools that is ignored."

SESAME, which stands for Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct and Exploitation, is an organization based in Las Vegas, Nevada, that aims to make schools safer for students. SESAME has been tracking educator sexual misconducts since 2014 and they said the research shows that this issue occurs almost daily.

"We have around 450 to 750 cases a year in the news. Essentially that shows you it's pretty much every day," said Dr. Bille-Jo Grant, a researcher and board member at SESAME.

Miller said one of the main issues is that some districts don't implement a proper vetting process.

"Fingerprint background checks are a false sense of security because there's no criminal history to be found with many of the offenders," Miller said. "One of the red flags is if a teacher doesn't stay at one jurisdiction for too long."

During the sentencing, prosecutors said DeFluri should spend 10 years behind bars. One of the prosecutors Katherine Green said this is not only because DeFluri was a teacher, but also because she violated her no-contact order.

"This is a case where we asked for a lengthy prison sentence because of a number of factors, one being DeFluri's position in the community as a teacher and a coach. And second the violation of the no-contact order after release," Green said.

DeFluri will serve seven years in prison.

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