On September 30, ABC News Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper reported in his blog that Jennings had issued a statement acknowledging that as a teacher he had failed to notify authorities about a situation involving one of his students who was a victim of statutory rape. Jennings, a militant homosexual activist who founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), has been at the forefront of the movement to promote homosexuality in the schools. In his speeches and writings, Jennings has given different accounts of the incident involving a 15-year-old male student who had informed Jennings he had sexual relations with a man he had met in a Boston bus station lavatory. In a speech in 2000, Jennings recalled that the only counsel he had given the boy (whom he called "Brewster") was to "use a condom."
According to Jennings' account in his 1994 book, One Teacher in Ten, Brewster "left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated." Was Brewster's reported smile the result of additional sexual trysts over the next two years (with the same man or other men), or the lingering effect of the Jennings stellar advice? Jennings doesn't say. Were there other "Brewsters" to whom he gave similar advice? Again, Jennings doesn't say, although he implies that the Brewster case was the only incident of that type. However, in his 2007 autobiography, Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son: A Memoir, Jennings writes a similar story about a boy named "Robertson," but with some significant differences. In the "Robertson" story, the boy does not wear a perpetual smile, but tells Jennings of his heartbreak at being spurned by the older man after their affair. "Robertson" also tells Jennings of his many sexual "adventures" in Boston, presumably also with men he doesn't know. Jennings' book relates: "Sometimes these startled me, and I began to underline the importance of safe sex to him."
Are "Brewster" and "Robertson" the same boy? If so, should Jennings not be asked to explain the significant discrepancies in his accounts? If they are two different boys, he has even more "'splaining" to do, as Ricky Ricardo would say. Here's how ABC's Jake Tapper reported Jennings' explanation:
Jennings today issued a statement saying: "Twenty one years later I can see how I should have handled this situation differently. I should have asked for more information and consulted legal or medical authorities. Teachers back then had little training or guidance about this kind of thing. All teachers should have a basic level of preparedness. I would like to see the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools play a bigger role in helping to prepare teachers."
Tapper's blog story, entitled "Head of Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools Expresses Regret for Controversial Incident," begins this way: "A senior official of the Department of Education expressed regret today for an incident that happened when he was a young teacher in the late 1980s, saying he should have handled it differently, but that society could benefit from his error."
However, there is no explicit expression of regret from Jennings, simply an acknowledgment that he should have acted differently, and only after conservative activists and Fox News made the "Brewster/Robertson" incident/incidents into an issue that refuses to go away. Jake Tapper's double reference to regret and his emphasis on the incident being many years ago, when Jennings was a young teacher, are some of the features that give the Tapper blog column the appearance of a strategic "limited hangout" by a friendly journalist. It smacks of an attempt to both minimize the criticism of Jennings and allay charges that ABC News and other liberal-left media organizations are censoring the Jennings story, much as they did the recent ACORN scandal (see here, here, and here). Some MSM6 flagships, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, have issued mea culpas (albeit much belated and of dubious contrition — see here and here) over their egregious failures and omissions on the ACORN prostitution scandal. They are undoubtedly feeling the pressure again over the obvious coverup of the Jennings scandals. That's scandals with an "s" on the end, as in plural, since the Brewster/Robertson scandal is arguably only the most serious of many, some of which we outlined in our September 11 column, "Safe Schools' Czar Jennings Should be Expelled."
Jake Tapper's blog continues:
Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued a statement today supporting his colleague, saying, "Kevin Jennings has dedicated his professional career to promoting school safety. He is uniquely qualified for his job and I'm honored to have him on our team."
What is it in Jennings' vita that so inspires Secretary Duncan with the opinion that Jennings is "uniquely qualified" to promote safe schools? As far as we know, Jennings is still dispensing the advice to youngsters that using a condom constitutes "safe sex" — whether engaged in homosexual or heterosexual acts. It is these false assurances and the covering up of the failure rates of condoms that is helping push the sky-high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among our young people. Is that "safe"?
Jennings says teachers should have a "basic level of preparedness" and he would like his federal "Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools to play a bigger role in helping to prepare teachers." What specifically would he do to "prepare" teachers to deal with this issue? He hasn't said, but Secretary Duncan assures us he is "uniquely qualified" and ABC's Tapper says "society could benefit from his error."
If we are to believe Jennings' "Robertson" story, he did not merely commit a single "error," but may in fact have been guilty of multiple criminal offenses over a period of years for failing to report the multiple "adventures" of the underage pupil with various men, as required by Massachusetts law. Even after "Brewster/Robertson" attained 16 years of age — the legal age of sexual consent in Massachusetts — did Jennings not have a moral obligation to do more than give "safe sex" advice? Besides the risk of STDs, did he not think to warn the boy/s against anonymous sex with men picked up in restrooms? Had he never heard of notorious homosexual serial murderers such as John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer who prey upon boys like "Brewster/Robertson"? Did he warn his young student against these and other dangers to his safety? Apparently not. And sympathetic members of the press in the MSM apparently are suffering from an acute case of lack of journalist curiosity as well as aserious lack of a sense of professional and moral duty.
If Jennings is to have his wish and "play a bigger role in helping to prepare teachers" will he merely advise teachers to do the minimum that the law demands, that is, only to report to parents or authorities sexual relations between their children and adults up to the age that the child reaches "legal consent" (which varies from state to state)? What about other safety issues that Jennings' recent statement didn't address, such as the hazardous practice of "fisting," which, reportedly, is relatively common among homosexuals? We won't go into that here; those interested in learning about the 2000 "Fistgate" scandal — in which homosexual activists from the Massachusetts Department of Education graphically instructed students (some as young as 12) in the supposed pleasures of fisting and other perverted acts — can get information here. What is most relevant to our present topic is the fact that Kevin Jennings, then executive director of GLSEN, publicly defended the atrocious activities. Worse still, he supported the homosexual militants who threatened to sue the parent groups that exposed their subversion of the children. (One of the offending educrats did sue and, supported by the homosexual militants, carried on a five-year legal harassment of the parents before dropping the case.)
There may not be any "scientific" polls on the subject, but it would probably not be too extravagant to speculate that most parents would consider the "Fistgate" practices that Jennings defended (not 21 years ago, but fairly recently) a "safety" issue — at the very least. Yet, Tapper's blog and the relatively few other MSM reports on the Jennings scandals have avoided "Fistgate." They also have avoided many other scandalous matters concerning Jennings that have been reported by Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) and the Family Research Council (FRC). The New American has uncovered a number of additional significant revelations from the public record that have not yet been reported (but which will be appearing in followup reports on Jennings).
These and other facts fortify my earlier expressed conclusion of the Tapper piece as a limited hangout. Worth noting is that ABC News did no actual radio or television news broadcasts of the Tapper material; it remained simply a blog item, with comparatively limited exposure.
Another telling fact is the unusual nature of the "press statement" issued by Jennings on September 30. Having read the statement in Tapper's blog, my "due diligence" reporter's impulse was to obtain the official statement first-hand from the Department of Education rather than accept the second-hand report from Tapper. Basic Journalism 101, right? Should be simple: Just go to the Ed. Dept. website or the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools website. Not so simple, after all. After nearly an hour of searching both sites and Googling and Binging all over the Web, I gave up and decided to call the Secretary Duncan's press office directly. The lady who answered said she could not provide me with a copy of the Jennings/Duncan statement but would have someone call me back. By and by I did indeed receive a call from Ed. Dept. spokesman Justin Hamilton. Could he direct me through the Department's daunting labyrinth to the statement, or better yet, email me a copy? No, he said, because there is no written statement. I expressed surprise, inasmuch as I had read, in more than one news account, explicit statements that the Department issued a "written statement." Not true, said Mr. Hamilton. Then where had Jake Tapper gotten his Jennings/Duncan statements? Hamilton had read them to Tapper over the phone, Hamilton explained, and he would be glad to read it to me now. "And that's how this is being handled, individually reading this statement to every reporter who calls?" I asked. "Isn't that a bit inefficient and inconvenient? And doesn't it increase the likelihood of error," since every reporter must transcribe while listening to Hamilton, rather than copying and pasting directly from a written text? "That's how we're handling it," said Hamilton, without further explanation.
Obviously, "handling it" this way serves to greatly limit the number of journalists who will cover the story, since far fewer will go to the trouble I just described than would otherwise grab an easily available press release. Of course, from what we've seen of the Jennings saga thus far, relatively few of the so-called MSM "journalists" are inclined to violate the politically correct editorial canons against criticizing homosexual activists and their activities.
However, Jennings' record is as sordid as it is long, and like the MSM suppression of ACORN's illegal doings, continued spiking of the real Jennings story will only serve to hasten the shredding of whatever tattered credibility the self-anointed "prestige press" can claim to still have. As they start feeling more and more heat from the unsophisticated boobs in the hinterlands, they may have to grudgingly admit that they "missed" another big story.
Photo of Kevin Jennings: AP Images