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The campus of La Jolla High School. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

Reports of Martin Teachworth groping his students surfaced in the early 2000s. Student complaints to school officials came and went, but Teachworth kept on teaching. He even garnered the nickname “Touchworth.” His teaching credential wasn’t revoked until 2019, long after his retirement.

This week on Good Schools for All, we examine how abusive educators manage to stay in the classroom, sometimes for years. Teachers’ job protections make dismissals costly, even when strong evidence against them exists. Non-disclosure agreements keep past employers from revealing misconduct to prospective new employers. And a lengthy appeals processes ensure educators can keep their teaching credentials even when investigations have confirmed they committed misconduct.

Teachworth’s story spurred a year-and-a-half long investigation into sexual misconduct in schools all across the region, by reporters Ashly McGlone and Kayla Jimenez. They tell host Will Huntsberry about the long battle that ensued to ensure Teachworth’s case was heard before a state credentialing committee.

It involves a box of “lost” investigative documents that showed officials had previously confirmed Teachworth stuck his hand down a girl’s pants — but was never disciplined.

Warning: This episode contains descriptions of sexual assault.

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Nate John

Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

Will Huntsberry

Will Huntsberry is a senior investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego.

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