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Why was rapist allowed to coach kids?

February 3, 2009 3:16:41 PM PST
There is outrage over why an admitted rapist was ever allowed to work with kids in New Jersey.Glen Harp has pleaded guilty to abusing a little girl. And now that parents know his past, they can't believe the man was allowed to work with their children.

Harp began volunteering as a basketball coach at an Irvington after-school program two years ago. Last week, the 38-year-old pleaded guilty to raping a 7-year-old girl between September and December of 2007. The program he supervised at Grove Street Elementary School has since been discontinued.

Prosecutors say Harp repeatedly raped the girl both at his apartment and at the school. She eventually reported the assaults to her grandmother, who called police.

However, local official were unaware that he had been indicted a decade earlier on charges of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Harp was convicted of the lesser charge and sentenced to probation in that incident.

Parents are now outraged that no one at the school or the after-school program looked into Harp's background to determine if he might be a danger.

There are also questions as to how Harp, who faces 15 years in prison, was allowed to take the child out of the school.

Community leaders and school board members are also upset about how the district reacted to the assault, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. The newspaper reports that the incident was not discussed the assault publicly before reports received an anonymous tip.

Other parents at the school told the paper that they were never told it had happened.

School board member Kenneth Waller told the Star-Ledger that he is calling for board of education member Ahmed Screven's resignation over the lack of a background check.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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