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At a score of 482, I see only 3 majors with lower SAT scores. Home economics at
462, Technical and Vocational ed at 441, Public Affairs at 462.




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Janelle Batkins, 42, of Harrison Township, is charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. She
faces up to 30 year in prison if convicted of both counts.
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                                                                                                                 1
Roseville teacher arraigned on charges of sex with
student aide
Disturbing trend, different stigma for male, female teachers, experts say
September 24, 2007
By CHRISTY ARBOSCELLO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

A Roseville High School teacher accused of having sex with her teenaged student aide last school year was
arraigned on criminal sexual conduct charges today in a Clinton Township district court.
Janelle Batkins, 42, of Harrison Township, is charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual
conduct, a 15-year felony. She was released on a $25,000 personal bond under the conditions she doesn’t
go on the school grounds and doesn’t have contact with minors unrelated to her.
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Batkins, who taught French for 15 years in the district and was named Teacher of the Year in 2002, resigned
over the summer.


The married mother of two children, ages 14 and 21, had an affair with the 17-year-old boy from December
of 2006 until the end of the last school year, police and prosecutors said.


The Free Press generally does not name victims of alleged sexual assaults.


The boy’s mother brought the allegations to Roseville police in July after finding evidence of the relationship
on her son’s computer. Her son told detectives he consented to sex with Batkins when he was 17 in places
like her home and a car in Roseville, police said.


“She has not admitted to having any sexual contact” with him, Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel said
today of Batkins.


Ordinarily, the boy could have legally consented to the relationship at that age, if Batkins was not in a
position of authority, Hackel said.


Investigators have confiscated their e-mails, instant messages and phone records. They also interviewed
faculty members and other students during their investigation. A preliminary exam was set for Oct. 30.


Similar cases have made headlines in metro Detroit and across the country.


In June, Stephen Tisch, 31, of Commerce Township, was charged with five counts of criminal sexual
conduct for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old female student at Walled Lake Central High School.


Earlier this month, a former Plymouth Christian Academy teacher, Stephanie Ann Stein, 31, of Canton, was
charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and other felonies for allegedly having sex



                                                                                                              2
with a 15-year-old boy.


Historically, male teachers have faced harsher prison sentences and more public ridicule than females
accused of these crimes, said David A. Moran, associate dean of Wayne State University’s Law School.


“There was a stereotype that it was a good thing for a young boy to get experience by an older woman,” said
Moran, pointing out that it was romanticized in movies.


But sentencing guidelines put in place in the last 10 to 20 years ensured more fairness, especially in
Michigan, he said today.


New York-based clinical psychologist Jeff Gardere, who has studied such cases, said today that there’s still
less public outrage when a female teacher is accused of engaging in sex with a minor.


And while the sentencing guidelines are the same, “in more of the cases the bond is usually set lower for the
female teachers versus the male teachers.”


People also are more likely to diminish the emotional effects such interactions have on boys.


“If this is true and he doesn’t get some sort of psychological intervention, it will impact his relationships in the
future,” Gardere said of the alleged victim.


Contact CHRISTY OYAMA-ARBOSCELLO at arboscello@freepress.com.




                                                                                                                  3
Teacher’s pets
By Khary Kimani Turner, Metro Times staff writer
Metro Times, February 18, 2004


Plaintiff prevails in lawsuit alleging that school district failed
to stop abuse for decades.

The most any school official did was threaten disciplinary
action.
MICHIGAN - Sarah K., 31, sits in a restaurant, her infant son, Max, next to her playing
quietly in a baby seat and staring at passersby. She can‟t help but smile whenever their
eyes meet.
The boy helps her to smile a lot these days, but he also
reminds her of her responsibility to nurture and protect
Max, her fourth child.

Her sense of obligation is heightened because when
Sarah was young, she was the victim of a career child
molester — a teacher whose bosses chose to transfer him
from school to school rather than report repeated student
complaints to police, or remove him from the classroom.

Sarah shudders to think of any child suffering abuse
because school officials didn‟t react forcefully.

“If a kid in my neighborhood said, „Jimmy touched me,‟
you better know goddamn well I‟m gonna call the              John Lomnicki is serving 18-36
police,” Sarah says. “On a moral level, you have to         years in prison for criminal sexual
answer to yourself.”                                                     conduct.


Her comments are prompted by a discussion about John Lomnicki, 69, a convicted
pedophile who is serving 18 to 36 years in prison for sexually molesting Sarah from 1982
to 1984, from the time she was 9 until she was 12.

Allegations contained in a lawsuit filed against Lomnicki and the Roseville Community
School District (RCSD) assert that Sarah was far from his only victim.

Between 1975 and 1993, the lawsuit alleges, the RCSD was made aware of at least 14
incidents of alleged molestation involving Lomnicki, an elementary school teacher.




                                                                                             4
Sarah is outraged that a man suspected of abusing so
many children for so many years was allowed to remain
in the classroom for so long.

The lawsuit alleges that school district administrators
never reported abuse complaints to police. District
officials themselves testified that Lomnicki was only
removed from the classroom after police began a
criminal investigation based on complaints that police
received independently, not from district officials.

Prior to that, testimony from the administrators
themselves shows, the most any school official did was
threaten disciplinary action via two written, sealed
reprimands placed in Lomnicki‟s personnel file.

Whenever too many allegations arose at one school,
RCSD administrators would transfer him to another
                                                                  Sarah K. at home
district school without informing administrators at the
new school of the complaints against him, the lawsuit alleges.

In each new school setting, he was given the same responsibilities, and toward the end of
his career, he was granted a federally funded tutoring position that gave him one-on-one
access to children and a private room.

After police informed RCSD officials that it was conducting a criminal investigation of
Lomnicki in early 1993, testimony shows, it took them an additional two months to
remove him from his tutoring post and cut him off from children.

“This was the same time period when Lomnicki was molesting Jane Doe,” the lawsuit
alleges.

Jane Doe




                                                                                          5
Jane Doe entered Lomnicki‟s orbit in 1992, when she
was a kindergartener and he was her one-on-one reading
instructor at Eastland Elementary School in Roseville.

Jane, now 16, testified in a deposition that Lomnicki
sexually molested her at least five times, rubbing her,
grabbing her and penetrating her vagina with his fingers.
Jane testified that Lomnicki took her into the boys‟
bathroom, where he hung her by her jacket hood on a
hook on the door.
                                                            Elizabeth Slinde, now a Macomb
Jane testified that Lomnicki used tools, a hockey mask,      County commissioner, knew
                                                              about complaints against
which he wore on two occasions, and a rope, which he                  Lomnicki
once used to tie her wrists while she hung from the hook.
She says he hit her with a miniature wooden bat, and slapped her face. She said he
threatened to kill her if she told anyone what he was doing.

Lomnicki, imprisoned at Ryan Correctional Facility, declined to be interviewed for this
story. All current and former RCSD officials contacted by Metro Times refused to answer
questions about Lomnicki.

Jane‟s mother sued RCSD in 1996, one year after Lomnicki was convicted in criminal
court of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct against Sarah K. Jane‟s mother
is identified in the lawsuit as Sally Doe.

The civil suit — which said the RCSD’s “deliberate indifference” allowed Lomnicki
to abuse Jane and violate her civil rights — was settled in U.S. District Court in
Detroit last month. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, and all parties
are prohibited from disclosing it. However, a federal mediation panel that reviewed
the case ruled that it would warrant a $7 million award, Jane Doe’s attorney says.




                                                                                           6
The award will be paid by the School Employers
Trust, School Employers Group (SET SEG), an
insurance pool organized by the Michigan School
Boards Association.

According to Tim Mullins of Cox, Hodgman &
Giamarco, the law firm that represented RCSD in the
civil trial, SET SEG made the decision to settle.

Ron Greve, the RCSD‟s general counsel, says: “It was
the insurance company‟s call. Under the language of the
contract, they have the exclusive right to settle claims
they are defending.”

Neither Mullins or Greve would discuss the defense‟s
position in detail — or explain why the case was
prolonged for eight years — but Mullins says that
Lomnicki has always denied molesting anyone.
                                                                 John Kment, current
                                                              superintendent of Roseville
When the civil case finally went to trial in federal court       Community Schools
in January, it lasted exactly one day. SET SEG made an
acceptable settlement offer the day after the jury heard opening arguments.

“Disagreement over the amount of settlement didn‟t help,” Greve says. “The parties were
miles apart. They came together when it went before a jury. You‟re at the point where
you‟re either going to settle it, or somebody is going to make the decision for you.”

Greve says the school district was always in favor of a settlement.

“Our position all along was that the case should have been settled,” he says. “The parties
had been discussing settlement all along.”

Sally Doe‟s attorney, Julie Hurwitz, executive director of the Maurice and Jane Sugar
Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, disagrees with this view.

“I was told up to the very end there was no way they were going to pay,” says Hurwitz,
who along with Thomas Stephens took leave from Sugar Law to pursue the lawsuit. “It
was made clear to us from day one that they considered this to be a frivolous case.”

Hurwitz believes the district was more concerned about negative publicity than protecting
children — a suspicion bolstered by testimony from a former RCSD superintendent.

“RCS would get reports and do their version of an investigation,” Hurwitz says. “This
means it would be the teacher‟s [Lomnicki‟s] word against the student‟s. RCS would go
with the teacher and determine there was no merit to the students‟ claims. It was a CYA
[cover your ass] action rather than a move to protect children.”


                                                                                            7
Method man

RCSD administrators‟ see-no-evil approach is reflected by the fact that police finally got
wind of Lomnicki in 1993 through Sarah K., who was not a district student when he
molested her.

Sarah, Lomnicki‟s lone known off-campus victim, describes him as a calculating
predator.

“He wedged his way into this life disguised as this normal, churchgoing, children-loving
teacher, to get close to children,” Sarah tells Metro Times. “He needed punishment
because he carried it out for so long.”

Lomnicki was Sarah‟s in-home math tutor and next-door neighbor. He became her tutor
after her parents divorced and her mother moved them to a home in Warren. Sarah was 9
years old and in the third grade.

“I‟m terrible in math,” says Sarah, who is now married and a stay-at-home mother. “He
offered his services so gallantly. He offered gifts. He was one of those creepy guys who
would shake your hand and touch your shoulder.”

Lomnicki lived next door to Sarah with his mother. Upon learning of Sarah‟s trouble in
math, she says, Lomnicki approached her mother and offered his services, free of charge.

A Warren police report states that tutoring sessions were always held in Sarah‟s bedroom.
She tells Metro Times that the first few involved only tutoring. But she says poor
performances on the tests he gave her would prompt lewd demands — he‟d ask for a kiss
on the cheek under threat of telling her mother of her poor mathematics skills.

The kissing progressed. To the lips. He put his hand inside her shirt. Then he had her
remove her clothing and began performing oral sex on her.

“He‟d do something until it felt normal,” she recalls. “And then he would do a little bit
more.”

The time he spent tutoring became sporadic, she says. “He would often say things like,
„Instead of that, why don‟t you come sit on my lap and give me a kiss?‟”

Handwritten notes kept by Lomnicki documented 15 sessions; he met with Sarah every
six to seven days. He wrote that Sarah often pouted, was short-tempered and made little
or no progress in math.

Asked where her mother was during these sessions, Sarah says she always left them
alone. When the oral sex began, she says, she threatened to scream, and Lomnicki told
her to go ahead. Her mother, he said, already knew.




                                                                                             8
Sarah says she would believe that until years later, when the criminal trial began. Then,
she says, she realized that her mother never suspected a thing.

School days

Testimony gathered in the civil case alleges that Lomnicki‟s usual hunting grounds were
the RCSD schools where he taught. Within his first 20 years on the job, he worked at five
schools in the district, which is bounded roughly by 10 Mile and 14 Mile roads, Little
Mack and Groesbeck. Enrollment today is approximately 6,500 students, district officials
say.

Administrators at three of the five schools where Lomnicki taught became aware of abuse
complaints against him, testimony indicates.

Testimony by former Roseville school principal Elizabeth M. Slinde indicates that she
heard student complaints but did not notify police, the Macomb County prosecutor or any
other law enforcement agency. Slinde couldn‟t even recall reporting the complaints to her
superiors. She testified that she gave Lomnicki a verbal warning.

Slinde retired from RCSD in 1986. She has been a Macomb County commissioner
representing Roseville and Eastpointe since 1979.

Sealed reprimands placed in Lomnicki‟s personnel file indicate that other administrators
who knew of complaints against Lomnicki were one-time RCSD Superintendent Frank C.
Mayer and Leroy Herron, assistant superintendent under Mayer. Both Mayer and Herron
have retired from the district. Neither could be reached for comment on the allegations in
the lawsuit. Mayer, who now lives in Florida, did not respond to messages left at his
home. Herron apparently still lives in the area.

Dorothea Sue Silavs, the district‟s director of special education, filed a report with Child
Protective Services in December 1994 suggesting that Jane Doe was being abused — by
someone in her home. Though the report was filed after Lomnicki had been arrested
for abusing Sarah K., Silavs wrote that the alleged perpetrator was “unknown.” Silavs
admitted under oath that she knew the alleged offender was Lomnicki, that she had never
interviewed Jane or Jane‟s mother and that she had no basis for suggesting that Jane had
been abused in her home.

Under the state Child Protection Act of 1975, school administrators and teachers are
required to immediately report suspected abuse to at least one of three agencies — the
county‟s prosecuting attorney, the family independence agency or local police. This
includes suspected abuse on or off school grounds, including a student‟s home. Failure by
any school administrator to obey the law is a criminal offense, punishable as a
misdemeanor.

A statute of limitations exists on this law, according to William Harding, chief of
operations for the Macomb County Prosecutor‟s Office. Harding says anyone violating it


                                                                                            9
must be prosecuted within six years of the date of the crime. He says the prosecutor‟s
office never examined whether administrators violated the Child Protection Act because
the criminal investigation centered on crimes committed in Sarah K.‟s home, and Sarah
was not an RCSD student.

Touchy tenure

John Lomnicki‟s teaching career began in 1960 at Fountain Elementary School. A
minimum of seven allegations of inappropriate touching and child molestation surfaced
during the 18 years he worked there, according to the civil complaint.

A Jan. 18, 1995, Warren police report says the first known incident took place sometime
during the mid-‟60s. In the report, Andy, the only male child included in Lomnicki‟s list
of alleged victims, told Warren investigators he was sexually assaulted up to 12 times
while in Lomnicki‟s third-grade class. The assaults occurred at various times of the day,
sometimes after school, sometimes while Lomnicki‟s students were seated and working,
the report states.

Andy told police he was taken into the bathroom and forced to face the wall. Lomnicki
would press his body against Andy‟s, unzip his pants, and place the child‟s hand on his
penis.

Andy, who died in 2000, six years after an accident left him a quadriplegic, told nobody
about Lomnicki‟s molestations until he was an adult.

Retired Warren Detective Frank Spanke wrote in the 1995 police report that “after each
incident, Lomnicki would warn [Andy] not to tell anybody, that [if] anything [was
mentioned] to his parents about these incidents, that Lomnicki would in turn tell Andy‟s
parents that Andy was doing bad in school and failing subjects … behaving bad in class.”

The first apparent case of an RCSD administrator witnessing questionable behavior came
during the 1971-72 school year. Beth, 40, testified during a deposition taken in January of
this year that Lomnicki abused her repeatedly — four of five days each week — through
the course of the entire academic year.

According to Beth, Lomnicki rubbed her back, put his hand into her pants and inserted
his fingers into and kissed her vagina.

Beth testified that the principal of the school at the time once caught her and Lomnicki in
a closet in his classroom during school. The principal opened the door just in time to find
Beth pulling up her slacks, she testified.

She did not recall what transpired between the principal and Lomnicki, but she did recall
being “very upset.” She was not, however, removed from Lomnicki‟s class. There is no
record that the principal, who is now deceased, did anything to discipline Lomnicki or
report the alleged incident to his superiors or to police.


                                                                                          10
A chronological account compiled by Hurwitz‟s team alleges that Lomnicki molested
five more girls between 1975 and 1977. Alleged victims testified that he touched between
their legs, rubbed their inner thighs, put his hands into their underwear and up their
dresses. He would invite some to sit in his lap. He put his tongue in one little girl‟s mouth
on more than one occasion.

Elizabeth M. Slinde was principal at Fountain during these years. Documents prepared
for the civil trial indicate she was made aware of three of the five cases. The first
occurred during 1975-76.

Court papers filed by Hurwitz allege that a student named Gina told both her father and
Slinde that Lomnicki had touched her inappropriately. The father, the account says, met
with Slinde, who, according to Gina, said she did not see how it could have been
possible. “Gina, with her father, demonstrated how Lomnicki touched her,” Hurwitz says.
“Slinde said it was impossible, and sent her back to class.”

Slinde testified in the civil case that she did not report these incidents to police or even to
the RCSD superintendent.

The district at that time had no established procedure for addressing suspected sexual
abuse. According to Frank Mayer‟s testimony during the civil proceedings, it was each
principal‟s responsibility to handle such cases. RCSD would not adopt a districtwide
policy until 1992.

During a deposition in the civil proceedings, Slinde testified that, with no written
procedure in place, she handled it by talking to Lomnicki and warning him not to touch
children inappropriately.

But the verbal admonition apparently did not deter Lomnicki.

The following year, Lomnicki allegedly molested at least three more girls. One of the
complainants, Kate, testified that Slinde called the three girls to her office and questioned
them, but dismissed them by saying she didn‟t want to hear any more talk about it.
According to Kate, Slinde said if they told anyone, even their parents, then Lomnicki
would “get in a lot of trouble and go to jail and die.”

Additional allegations surfaced during Lomnicki‟s Fountain years involving two fifth-
grade girls, one of whom alleged that Lomnicki put pieces of candy into her mouth, and
into each of her hands, pulled her shirt tight, and made comments about how her breasts
had grown.

Another girl said Lomnicki grabbed her on several occasions, and that he once picked her
up by the waist, spit the gum he was chewing into her mouth, and then inserted his
tongue into her mouth to retrieve it.




                                                                                             11
According to their testimony, the girls did not report these incidents to anyone besides
Slinde.

Metro Times asked Slinde to respond to these allegations.

“I don‟t think I should comment,” she said. “I‟m sorry. I have no comment. Goodbye.”

During a deposition in the civil case, Slinde said she thought she had handled the
complaints appropriately.

“I felt that it wasn‟t necessary to go further,” Slinde testified. “I just felt that there was
perhaps a misunderstanding …”

“… I don‟t believe it was appropriate for him to do it, but I don‟t think it was sexual
harassment …”

“… I told Mr. Lomnicki that he was to be very careful and, you know, do no more
touching and so on and so forth … he assured me he wouldn‟t.”

Slinde said she could not recall if she documented the complaints or her verbal
admonishment to Lomnicki in writing. In any case, she said, she destroyed any such
records when she retired from the district.

After these incidents, Lomnicki was transferred to Kaiser Elementary in 1979. Kaiser
officials were not notified that at least six girls at Fountain had accused him of molesting
them, the civil complaint states.

In 1979, Superintendent Mayer was told by the Kaiser principal that four sixth-grade girls
were accusing Lomnicki of fondling their breasts. Mayer testified that he investigated the
matter and determined that Lomnicki had exercised “poor judgment.”

Asked whether fondling the breasts of young girls would be considered sexual
harassment, Mayer said it would depend on how sexual harassment is defined.

“I say it‟s undesirable,” he said. “I don‟t know what you mean by „sexual harassment,‟
really.”

Mayer testified that while he determined that the complaints had “no merit,” he placed a
written reprimand in Lomnicki‟s personnel file, in a sealed envelope, shielding it from
anyone but school administrators.

“You are not to straighten clothing or pick up jewelry from beneath a sweater or blouse,”
it read, “or to touch students in a way which could be misinterpreted by them or their
parents.” Mayer warned Lomnicki that “future instances of poor judgment on your part
may result in more severe disciplinary action up to and including discharge.”




                                                                                                 12
Mayer testified that he issued the sealed reprimand “because he occasionally was friendly
with students [it] was creating a public relations problem for us, and it had to be
stopped.”

Hurwitz asked whether he considered the complaints against Lomnicki a “frivolous
claim.”

“No, serious claim, as I indicated. We had a public relations problem,” Mayer responded,
adding that he believed the things Lomnicki did were “unintentional on his part.”

And with that, Lomnicki was transferred again, this time to Arbor Elementary, where he
was assigned to Chapter I, a federally funded remedial reading program that granted him
one-on-one access to students and a private classroom.

In a deposition taken during the civil proceedings, Lomnicki made it clear that the
assignment was anything but a punishment.

“In my estimation, it was like a goal that I had [as a teacher],” he said. “I often thought
that, gee, I‟d like to do that. I think it would be really effective.”

School officials at Arbor were not told that Lomnicki had been accused of molestations
at other schools, the civil suit alleges. There apparently were no reported incidents at
Arbor for nine years.

Court papers filed by Hurwitz‟s team allege that in 1988, six sixth-grade girls told school
Principal Roberta Fanti that Lomnicki had inappropriately touched them.

One of the girls, Lisa, testified, “We didn‟t call him Mr. Lomnicki. We called him the
pervert. I mean, it‟s common knowledge from the whole sixth-grade class that that‟s what
he was.”

Fanti reported the allegations to Leroy Herron, then RCSD‟s assistant superintendent
under Mayer.

Herron placed a second sealed reprimand in Lomnicki‟s personnel file — essentially a
rehashing of the one Mayer had given him nine years earlier: “You are not to hug or put
your hands on students in a manner that could be misconstrued by them or their parents.
If there are any future accusations from students concerning your behavior it could result
in further disciplinary action.”

Despite the fact that Lomnicki had already been warned once that further misdeeds could
get him fired, neither reprimand led to any “further disciplinary action” by the district.

In fact, the sealed reprimand issued to Lomnicki in 1979 was never referenced in the
1988 sealed reprimand. Asked why, Mayer responded, “I cannot explain.”




                                                                                              13
Though Mayer determined that there was “no sexual misconduct” in 1988, he did write a
letter notifying Child Protective Services of the complaints against Lomnicki. Hurwitz
says there is no indication that the agency did any investigation of its own.

“We have no idea what, if anything, they [CPS] did,” Hurwitz says. “We have no idea if
the letter was ever sent.”

Lomnicki was shuffled again, this time to Eastland Elementary.

His assignment? The Chapter I reading program.

Jane Doe first encountered Lomnicki in 1992, when she was in kindergarten at Eastland.

In the mediation summary, Jane is described as an “active, energetic and happy-go-lucky
child” prior to meeting Lomnicki.

In April 1992, her preschool teacher noted that Jane was articulate, but testing also
indicated some immaturity in her development. Two years later, she was diagnosed with
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

Lomnicki had been teaching at Eastland for several years when Jane began receiving
individualized reading instruction from him.

Lomnicki‟s alleged behavior with Jane — hanging her on a hook, striking her with a
small wooden bat, donning a hockey mask — was the most aggressive and violent
reported.

Hurwitz theorizes that Lomnicki was reacting to the pressure he felt from the Warren
police‟s criminal investigation, which had begun in early 1993.

Jane testified that Lomnicki threatened to kill her if she told anyone about what
happened. As a result, she remained quiet.

Outrage

About the time that Jane Doe was alleged to be under Lomnicki‟s sway, Wendy, a former
Fountain Elementary student who had grown to adulthood, learned that Lomnicki was
teaching at Eastland.

In late 1992, an outraged Wendy, who lived in the Eastland area, walked her street,
knocking on the doors of families with children and telling them that Lomnicki had
abused her when she was his student. One of the people she talked to was Sally Doe,
Jane‟s mother.

Sally, in turn, asked her daughter whether anyone had inappropriately touched her, but
Jane denied anything had ever happened. Unconvinced, Sally went to the school in early


                                                                                       14
1993 to talk to Principal Susan Enke, who, according to the mediation summary, denied
that Lomnicki had abused any of her students.

Enke did know, however, that Warren police had started an investigation of Lomnicki,
and she mentioned it to Sally Doe. In spite of the mother‟s concern, and the principal‟s
knowledge of the criminal probe, Enke refused to remove Jane — who would say nothing
about what had happened to her for another year — from Lomnicki‟s supervision.

The criminal investigation was launched after Sarah K., unbeknownst to Sally or Wendy,
went to the police. Nine years had passed since Lomnicki had abused her in her Warren
home.

Sarah says she thought she had put the abuse behind her. But then she became a mother.
Her new maternal responsibilities triggered a crushing realization.

“Seeing this child who I‟m supposed to protect brought memories back,” she says. “It ate
me up inside until I did something about it. Then I realized I was doing something for a
whole bunch of people.”

She went to the Warren police on Jan. 3, 1993, and told her story to Officer Daniel Klik.

“I am a cynic,” says Klik, who is now a detective. “At that time, I‟d been a police officer
for 10 years, about. After 10 minutes with a complainant, you realize whether they‟re
sincere. Sarah was sincere.”

Warren police made RCSD aware of the investigation, which began on Jan. 5, 1993.

Upon learning about it, RCSD attorney Ronald Greve advised Assistant Superintendent
Frank Mancina not to freely give Warren police Lomnicki‟s personnel file, according to
testimony given during the civil trial. Greve did, however, tell Mancina to encourage
authorities to get a warrant.

“I advised him to tell the Warren Police Department that, yes, we do have some
information, so it wouldn‟t be a waste of time getting a search warrant,” Greve testified.

Mayer and Herron had both retired by the time the investigation began.

In spite of these developments, it would be two more months, until March 6, 1993, before
new Superintendent John Kment, who is still in that post, took steps to remove Lomnicki
from the classroom.

Lomnicki was arrested on March 3, 1993. RCSD administrators then removed and
reassigned him to the district‟s central administrative office.




                                                                                         15
The investigation went public in mid-1993 when the Macomb Daily began reporting it.
Sarah and Lomnicki were both parishioners at St. John‟s Catholic Church, and she recalls
the backlash from the congregation.

“They called me names,” she says, “and said things like, „You should be ashamed of
yourself.‟ After the first day of testimony [in the criminal trial], they changed their tune,
because they realized it was true.”

Lomnicki was convicted of criminal sexual conduct. He is now serving that sentence and
will be eligible for parole on Dec. 1, 2009.

After Jane Doe came forward, a Macomb County prosecutor charged Lomnicki in that
case, which was bound over for trial. But after he was convicted and sentenced in the
Sarah K. case, the Jane Doe criminal prosecution was dropped to spare the child the
ordeal of testifying.

According to Hurwitz, RCSD negotiated a retirement package with Lomnicki prior to his
conviction. It provides full pension benefits. Lomnicki retired days before he was
convicted.

Timeline

Metro Times wanted to know the defense‟s position in pushing the civil proceedings to
the brink of litigation, only to give in the day after opening arguments. Most calls to the
administrators and district attorneys went unreturned.

Ron Greve was the only one to call back.

“Part of the problem was that the plaintiff started the case in Macomb Circuit Court. We
had a trial date, but the plaintiff then dismissed it and refiled it in federal court,” RCSD‟s
general counsel, Greve, says.

Hurwitz says that when the case was in Macomb County, “We had numerous trial and
mediation dates. The defense moved to adjourn all of them. At the end of ‟99, we were
told by a court-appointed facilitator that the case would never go to trial. We decided the
only way we would get a trial date would be to go to federal court.”

Greve says the district said it had no clear evidence that Lomnicki was a pedophile, and
didn‟t know enough to justify terminating him.

But Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University, had
no doubt about Lomnicki‟s nature. He viewed him as a textbook pedophile.

“I have a wealth of data indicating that he is a pedophile,” Tanay testified during an
October 2003 deposition. “… No psychiatrist will have a choice but to say, yes, Mr.
Lomnicki is a pedophile.”


                                                                                            16
Greve would not comment on the district‟s failure to make principals at each school
Lomnicki was transferred to aware of past complaints against him.

“I frankly think a lot of these witnesses are saying things that never happened,” Greve
says. “I‟m not saying they‟re lying, but memory is a funny thing.”

Emotional scars

A 1995 psychiatric evaluation linked Jane Doe‟s emotional state to her experience with
Lomnicki. The report says she had ADHD before meeting him, but she was also said to
have acute stress disorder associated with the sexual assault and the criminal proceedings
that followed.

Jane Doe‟s older sister, Christine, says her sibling experiences nightmares.

Hurwitz says Jane‟s emotional state is like that of an 11- or 12-year-old.

Asked why Lomnicki was not removed from the classroom much sooner, Greve said that,
because Lomnicki was a tenured teacher, there were questions about whether the district
had the authority to suspend him.

Hurwitz says the district had plenty of reason to remove Lomnicki, but she concedes that
Lomnicki did benefit from protection provided to educators under the Teacher Tenure
Act.

The state law entitles tenured teachers to a full grievance process before they can be
terminated, including union representation, and the right to fight reprimands or transfers.

Interestingly, though, Lomnicki never filed any grievances or contested his transfers.

Asked why she pursued the lawsuit so zealously for so long, Hurwitz responds, “When I
learned what had happened to this young girl, I felt very strongly that school districts
owe a very, very important duty to the students that they are supposed to be
protecting, and that it was just so apparent to me that in this case they had so
flagrantly failed to protect this child. And the more I got into this case and the more I
learned how right I was. And the more I learned how many people had had their lives
irreparably damaged by this man and this school district that was set up to allow this man
to get away with what he was doing, I just had to stick with it.

“I believe that our civil rights laws are fundamentally important to a system of justice that
protects individual people from government abuse, and this was a flagrant example of
abuse by a government agency that needed to be addressed.”

Khary Kimani Turner is a Metro Times staff writer. E-mail kturner@metrotimes.com.




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