In one of the most disturbing revelations in recent prep sports history, it has emerged that a Nebraska football coach who was suspended for running up the score during games had previously not been disciplined for a series of much more heinous actions: Sexual misconduct with teenage girls at the school.
As reported by the Omaha World Herald, Omaha (Neb.) Nathan Hale Middle School teacher and football coach Shad Knutson was suspended from his position after a student told her mother of Knutson’s brazen and disgusting advances toward her during school. According to the unnamed middle school minor in question, Knutson touched her breasts over her shirt twice and also stuck his pen in his crotch and dared the girl to grab it.
Clearly those actions are worthy of immediate dismissal and further prosecution. Yet, in Knutson’s case they also uncovered two prior allegations of abuse that apparently went unreported and unpunished, with Omaha Public Schools instead refraining from disciplining the coach because of “lack of credibility” among the accusers.
The World Herald goes into much more detail about the disturbing allegations against Knutson, but suffice it to say that the coach is accused of going far, far beyond anything that could be considered safe or reasonable from a teacher.
Still, the truly sad irony about Knutson’s case is that his principal stepped forward to suspend him for something far more trivial than sexual misconduct: running up the score in a football game. The World Herald reported that Nathan Hale athletic director Anthony Clark-Kazmarek banned the coach from the team’s final game in 2009 season after watching the Nathan Hale squad run up the score in the campaign’s penultimate contest.
If only Clark-Kazmarek or any other OPS official had acted more forcefully when the first allegations of impropriety emerged against Kazmarek, perhaps at least one other teen might not be scarred by the horrendous alleged actions perpetrated on her by one of the teacher’s she expected to safeguard her.