Attention Reader: No identification with actual persons is intended or should be inferred with this Op Ed.
While living in nine cities throughout four states I’ve heard stories, like you I presume, about men and women who are rumored to have been involved in or affected by what I simply call inappropriate adult behavior.
I’ve been a witness in court to testify on behalf of a person accused of misconduct. I’ve read documented statements from 45 people who clarified and quickly resolved a he-said, she-said incident. As an academic department head I have counseled students, faculty and staff about alleged wrongdoing and discussed due process procedures.
A youth minister reportedly gave underage boys cigars at a youth church outing while he talked with the boys about the accompanying teenage females bodies. One can only presume he was trying to be cool and fit in with the teenagers. Contributing to the delinquency of minors and impropriety are evident “if” the story is true.
College students who lobby at the Capitol on behalf of their university have expressed uncomfortable feelings with certain legislators. It is reported the elected officials’ hands are on the female’s (especially) shoulders and arms while greeting them and insists on a photo, getting way too close, supposedly, for the student’s comfort.
It’s reported an adult visited with teenagers from his religious affiliation about what it’s like to have sexual relationships with his/her spouse. Allegedly, the young boys and girls were dumbfounded, repulsed and many left the faith.
For quite some time, the Iowa Capitol has been rumored to be a little Peyton Place between legislators, lobbyists, staff, clerks and pages.
There are a multitude of stories and they go on and on. Rumors, rumors, rumors or is there any truth to these stories?
We now know that many individuals involved in improper behavior go on to become elected officials at the city, school board, county, state or federal level because no one came forward to report salacious incidents to religious leaders, police, school officials, city administrators, political party officials and employers.
Let’s face another reality. It’s obvious our political parties haven’t done their due diligence to thoroughly investigate candidates’ backgrounds. We need to do a much better job of vetting political candidates, even if they are seeking reelection. A more thorough screening of a candidate’s reason for leaving previous employers, especially those who are job hoppers, is required.
Iowa citizens are already saddled with paying $1.75 million for GOP Senate’s sexual harassment settlement. Enough is enough.
While I’m sure it is very uncomfortable for a child, teenager, young adult or adult to report incidences of impropriety, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and as a society, we need to encourage our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and peers to report inappropriate behavior to responsible adults we trust will investigate the situation and take proper action.
We should not tolerate or protect troubled and immature adult offenders from punishment. If we sweep allegations under the rug, we are as guilty as the perpetrator.
If you have knowledge of improper behavior by a currently elected politician or any person (who knows, they might be tomorrow’s elected representative), report the incident. Here are the contacts: 1) faith leader, school administrator, police, sheriff or alleged adult’s employer, 2) Jeff Kaufman, Chairman, Republican Party of Iowa; 515-282-8105 and/or 3) Troy Price, Chair, Iowa Democratic Party; 515-244-7292.
A watershed moment is before us to stand up and speak out. Let’s clean up our communities and state.
Steve Corbin is Professor Emeritus of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa, and a 1966 graduate of Nevada High School.