This, unfortunately, is not that uncommon:
Anne Sullivan testified that she hadn’t told anyone of the teacher who had abused her in seventh grade until she came face-to-face with Christopher Kloman in the hallway of her son’s school more than 40 years later.
Sullivan, now in her mid-50s, said she was so sickened by the fear that the teacher might be abusing other girls that she broke her long silence and alerted the administration of Washington Episcopal School.
Kloman, 74, was sentenced to 43 years in prison Friday in a Fairfax County courtroom for molesting five girls, including Sullivan, at McLean’s elite Potomac School in the late 1960s and ’70s, when he was a teacher and administrator. Sullivan’s chance encounter in November 2011 and tip sparked the lengthy investigation and criminal proceeding that brought the decades-old abuse to light.
One woman testified that some girls at the Potomac School nicknamed him “the Wolf,” but family and friends said they had no inkling of that man. They testified that Kloman was a caring father, a great educator and a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
More than 90 people, including former ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson and Ken Starr, the special prosecutor who investigated the Whitewater matter during the Clinton presidency, wrote letters on Kloman’s behalf.
People can be very good at hiding who they are and there is no person who is absolutely good or bad, so it’s not a sign that the people who wrote letters of support are bad people. That’s why you should read the letters (the article from Gawker is here) in support of him with some sympathy–think how you would react if someone you have known for 40 years turned out to be a molester. I thought of that when I read this letter:
I personally have known Mr. Kleman since 1982, as we both served on the Claude Moore Colonial Farm Board in Mclean for thirty years together. He was very helpful to the farm for special projects and market days and had an excellent rapport with all the board members. Not once, in the thirty years I have known him, has Mr. Kloman demonstrated any abusive behavior.
My husband Ken always found him to be a gentleman and sincerely interested in our children’s education and well-being during parent-teacher conferences each year. We would occasionally see Mr. and Mrs. Kloman on social occasions, and again, there was no evidence whatsoever of inappropriate behavior.
In short, all of us in the Starr family have admired Mr. and Mrs. Kleman for many years. We do not know of any occasion when he was abusive to women or children. Thus it is possible that once Mr. Kloman had children of his own in the 1970s and once he was promoted to head the intermediate division, he made a concerted effort to correct his behavior of the past.
Although we in no way condone Mr. Kloman’s actions, we are aware that his family has suffered the consequences of his past behavior, including his wife being fired from her job, even though she had no knowledge of his misdeeds. Since Mr. Klaman has apparently conducted himself in an acceptable manner for more than thirty years, with no other violations, and he has ·cooperated with the police and accepted responsibility for his actions, we hope the Court will provide leniency in his sentence.
Mr. Klaman is currently repenting for his past sins and will continue to do so if given a chance to serve his community and neighbors . Community service would be a far better punishment than having him languish in jail.
I sympathized with the sentiment a bit and then remembered that this was Ken Starr and his wife. That would be the Ken Starr that led the witch hunt against President Clinton in the Whitewater/Lewinsky scandal–so I have no problem with the start to the Gawker article:
What’s Ken Starr up to these days? According to Virginia court documents, the famously pious former Clinton prosecutor recently pleaded with a Fairfax County judge to let a confessed child molester go free. Because he’s a family friend.