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Archive for June 14, 2017

June 14, 2017 — When history repeats

ADVISORY: If you are a minor, you may want to have an adult reading this alongside you.

Scotia, N.Y. (pop. 7,803) and Glenville, N.Y. (pop. 29,480) are towns tucked along a bend in the Mohawk River about 10 miles northwest of the state capital, Albany.

Like all small-to-medium-sized towns in America, they have business, industry, historic landmarks, and other unique attributes.

The town and its field hockey team have had more than their share of scandal. In September 2010, the assistant field hockey coach at Glenville Scotia-Glenville (N.Y.), David Kennedy, was arrested on a morals charge, one for which he was sentenced to four years in prison.

Yesterday, the junior varsity field hockey coach for the same school district, Alex Culhane, was arrested for another morals charge connected to her work with special education students. According to reports, she was caught having sex with a 15-year-old student back in February, whereupon she was fired. The arrest on criminal charges, however, were delayed until this week.

As is per usual in cases involving members of the American field hockey community, it’s difficult — nay, useless — to speculate on anything but the numbers. There have been at least a dozen instances since August 2005 involving coaches, teachers, two members of the U.S. high-performance system, and even a journalist.

But it is notable that, seven years after the David Kennedy matter, a sex scandal has reared its head again at Scotia-Glenville. We noted then at how easy it was for Kennedy to buy certification as a field hockey coach without playing experience or the vetting currently mandated by USA Field Hockey.

And apparently, the certification for Culhane was about as easy as it is for any sub-varsity coach in New York — even considering how easy it was for Todd Broxmeyer to leverage his way to becoming a coach on several levels in southern New York in the months leading to his downfall on sexting charges in 2007.

We don’t know exactly how Culhane was able to obtain the credentials necessary to be a coach within the Scotia-Glenville district. She did not apparently attend college after graduating Scotia-Glenville in 2010, but was able to parlay her playing experience in field hockey and lacrosse not only into coaching positions at the school, but also to become a lacrosse umpire.

She was able to obtain work with the group running the special education school, called the Northeast Parent and Child Society. That school is run by a group called the Northern Rivers Family of Services, and is in turn licensed by the State of New York.

“Protective measures include fingerprinting, screening with the New York State Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect and the Justice Center staff exclusion list and sex offender registries,” Northern Rivers CEO William Gettman said in a statement. “We also monitor these databases for allegations against current staff. Again, keeping children safe is our job. We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure their safety.”

Culhane remains free until her arraignment, which is set for July 3 in Schenectady.