The Georgia Bureau of Investigation recently arrested 14 people in an undercover investigation to catch people who meet children online and then travel with the purpose of having sex with them.
One of the men identified is John McGill, the principal of Mt. Carmel Elementary School in Douglas County. According to an online profile for the 2011-2012 school year, McGill is also the married father of six and grandfather of three. He’s been a public school administrator for 18 years and has spent 14 of those as a principal.
McGill was charged under the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 1999 and will appear before a judge on Tuesday afternoon. In a statement about the sting operation, the GBI said:
The purpose of ‘Operation Broken Heart’ was to arrest persons who communicate with children on-line and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex ... On-line child predators visit chat rooms and websites on the internet, find children, begin conversations with them, introduce sexual content and arrange a meeting with the children for the purpose for having sex.
It’s hard to imagine what parents at that school must be feeling right now. Any stories involving child sex acts are sickening and heartbreaking, but when we send our kids off to school in the morning, there’s an expectation that they’ll be safe there.
The last person you’d suspect of participating in child pornography and the intention to sexually abuse children is the family man that happens to be your kid’s principal. I don’t think that’s something that would even cross your mind as a parent.
A spokesperson for the school assured parents that McGill has been suspended pending further investigation and that they are “cooperating fully” with law enforcement. They also have a counselor on site to help teachers talk with the children about the situation.
This is one of those cases where I want to hold out hope that it was all just a big misunderstanding. It’s frightening to think about the possibility that someone trusted with the care of elementary school children may have been eyeing them lewdly -- or worse.
How would you react if you found out your child’s principal had been arrested on child sex charges?
Image via ndlon/Flickr