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Dori: How could Kent School District hire alleged child rapist?

A 60-year-old man named Bob Wright who had just been hired by the Kent School District to be a child psychologist has now been charged with raping a child in Grays Harbor County.

The victim was a 13-year-old boy living with foster parents. According to the Kent Reporter, Bob Wright claimed that the victim told him he was 18, but that he, Wright, suspected the teen was 16. That’s convenient, since the legal age of consent is 16. A 60-year-old child psychologist might have known to pick that age, even if he really knew the victim was 13. According to police, they were not convinced of his claims.

Do you ever have people in your life who just give you the heebie-jeebies?

When I was in my early 20s, a group of friends and I would get together weekly and play touch football. One of my friends had a neighbor named Bob Wright, around whom I never felt right about. One evening, I brought my teenage nephew with me to play football. There was a collision at the line of scrimmage between my nephew and Wright, and my nephew ended up with a broken collarbone — an injury pretty unheard of in touch football with a bunch of buddies. As I took my nephew to the hospital, he told me that he was sure it was an intentional injury.

Award-winning SeaTac elementary teacher charged with child rape

Later, this same guy, Bob Wright, was the child psychologist at our neighborhood elementary school, which our daughters attended. I always got the creeps from him.

Then there was an incident in 2007, when Wright was 48. According to the Everett Herald, he was charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old on a camping trip, but the charges were later dropped. I’m trying to figure out if this 18-year-old had been a student at the school where he was a psychologist. The article states that Wright told police he was charged with a similar offense many years earlier.

So, it was kind of common knowledge about this guy among the parents in my school community — he was someone you did not want your kids to be around.

Let’s fast forward to the summer of 2019. Here’s my question. Can somebody tell me how in the name of heaven the Kent School District could hire this guy to be a child psychologist, when he had this kind of background? Yes, the person in the 2007 case was 18, but that’s close enough to the age of children these psychologists work with in schools. And given that there had been similar alleged offenses previously, it’s just too big of a risk.

What is going on in our schools? When you have entire school communities and school districts that knew what this guy was accused of doing, how does this happen? And even if he’s cleared because he had sex with an 18-year-old when he was 47, you still do not hire that person to be a child psychologist in your school district.

The way the Kent School District is handling this now is unbelievable. They released a statement that did not name the employee. The district will not comment to media on whether or not it was aware of Wright’s history, the Herald stated. What the heck does that mean? Either you knew about it and hired this guy anyway, putting all of your students in danger, or you didn’t know it because you didn’t do a background check, which is unforgivable negligence.

I’m telling you, there are hundreds of parents who knew this guy’s story. You’d better comment. You’d better explain to the parents and to the community how you hired someone with multiple allegations of sexual impropriety against very young men, against teenagers. With that background, was he really the best child psychologist you could have hired?

The Kent School District has an awful lot of questions that need to be answered.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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