“US teacher fired from Da Nang international school for possessing child porn”

OK, the clickbait title is a bit misleading but the first two paragraphs clarify what happened:

An American teacher at a Da Nang international school was fired after it was found he had been arrested in the U.S. for possessing child porn.

The unnamed physical education teacher at Singapore International School, 52, was arrested by U.S. police in 2013 for storing around 1,000 images depicting child porn on his personal computer, Mai Tan Linh, deputy director of the Da Nang Department of Education and Training, said Tuesday.

Nathan Forstell (Courtesy of The Mercury News)

The name of the “unnamed physical education teacher,” which has appeared in a number of other mainly Vietnamese language articles, is Nathan Forstell. Someone in the SIS Danang HR department obviously dropped the ball on his hiring. The arrests – one in 2013 and another a year later – should have appeared in a background check, which they obviously didn’t conduct. For that matter, all they had to do was enter his name and either “San Jose” or “San Francisco” into a search engine and, voilà!, a long list of articles about both arrests and his attempted suicide after the initial arrest would have appeared. The case was covered extensively by the Bay Area and California print and electronic media.

By the way, I wonder why this case didn’t go to trial? According to Penal Code 311 PC, which makes child pornography illegal in the state of California, it is a sex crime to send, transport, duplicate, print, advertise or possess child pornography, or to hire or persuade minors to participate in making pornographic imagery. 1000 images and videos is a rather extensive collection. Instead, they let him walk and later fly to Viet Nam to start a new life, hoping his past one wouldn’t catch up to him. He was successful for nearly four years. (I wonder how often he thought of those few keystrokes and seconds that would lead to his dismissal?)

It was a SIS Danang parent who found this incriminating information online, something it took me a few seconds to do. The school would have saved the cost of a background check. In addition to firing Forstell, the school should remove whoever was responsible for hiring him back in 2017.

Two lingering questions are: 1) Did the Danang police see if he had any child pornography images on his computer? 2) Is there any evidence that he abused any of the students at SIS Danang or children elsewhere? I’m waiting for that shoe to drop.

Viet Nam has its own homegrown sex offenders. It’s time to create a national sex offender registry to track these people and ensure the safety of children.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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