A true crime saga out of Toledo, Ohio.
A typical American community is torn apart by a sex scandal involving their school Super-intendent, underage girls, and teachers he supervised. A brave School Board member smelled a rat, hired a private investigator, and uncovered the Superintendent’s early crime. The 30-year chronicle is brought to life through the voices of the victims, community members, and the lying seducer.
This is an in-depth look at how a sexual predator operates.
The book is endorsed by a leading expert on the issue of educator abuse of students, Professor Charol Shakeshaft.
A note on the book title: “Passing the trash” is a well-known phrase in the education world. It refers to the corrupt practice of school administrators overlooking educators' sexual violations of students, failing to notify law enforcement for a proper investigation, and quietly passing the educators on to unsus-pecting school systems.
Read excerpts at:
Paperback Table of Contents
How is this book different?
This book is a detailed portrait of a sexual predator and his defenders in the community.
While there are more news stories appearing in recent years on the all-too-common practice of schools "passing the trash," they are light on facts. The reader is left wondering how this can still be happening in the #MeToo era.
How might parents and others spot a suspicious actor?
The author went deep, listening to numerous School Board meetings, watching official school videos, digging for documents, reading the Michigan State Police reports, retrieving personal emails on the school system (via public records request), scouring social media, and speaking to important players in the saga.
There is no other book on the subject with such detail over decades.
There is no other book that addresses the social-historical context of the sexual predation we're seeing in today's schools.
You want "edgy" content? This book has it.
It's one of a kind. Search for similar books and you'll find nothing.
US Dept. of Education - Recent memo on federal efforts to eliminate practice of "Passing the Trash"
The book PASSING the TRASH deals with a hot topic. On Feb. 26, 2020, the U.S. Dept. of Education released a memo: “Secretary DeVos Announces New Civil Rights Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault in K-12 Public Schools.”
The Secretary expressed special concern over the practice of “passing the trash” in schools across the country – and the failure of most state and local authorities to address the problem adequately. The DOE is now scrutinizing all state Departments of Education and local school districts on measures they’ve taken to prevent the practice. Here is an excerpt from Secretary DeVos's memo:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today a new Title IX enforcement initiative, led by the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), to combat the troubling rise of sexual assault in K-12 public schools. This initiative will enhance OCR's enforcement of Title IX in both elementary and secondary public schools and strengthen the ability of schools to respond to all incidents of sexual harassment and assault. The new initiative also builds on the Department's work to implement the "Pass the Trash" provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which prohibits schools from simply moving employees who have committed acts of sexual misconduct.
Today's actions follow the Department's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education's announcement that it will publish an extensive study of measures taken by states and school districts to prevent the phenomenon known as "Pass the Trash." The study examines best practices for prevention and raises awareness of the requirement under Section 8546 of ESSA, which prohibits state education agencies, school districts, schools and school employees from assisting an individual in obtaining new employment if the individual has engaged in sexual misconduct with a student or minor. For too long, and too often, teachers who have engaged in sexual misconduct with a student or other minor have appallingly managed to find employment at another school....
"Outlawing the despicable act of 'passing the trash' was a major step toward keeping our children safe from predators while they're at school," said U.S. Senator Pat Toomey. "But it will only work if each state and school district is in compliance with the law. I applaud Secretary DeVos and her department for undertaking new efforts to better protect schoolchildren. Parents deserve to know that when their kids go to school each day, they are going to be in a safe environment where they will not be preyed upon." [Emphasis added.]
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Professor Charol Shakeshaft, Department of Educational Leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University:
This book provides an up-close evidence driven story of how school employee sexual predators operate and the ways that predators groom victims, colleagues, families, and communities while sexualizing an organizational climate. Every part of the sad and shocking practices and patterns of child sexual abuse by school employees can be found in this chronicle, each backed up with primary sources and documents: passing the trash; grooming students, parents, colleagues, and community members: intimidation and threats; failure to believe victims; and cowardice and indifference from those who are supposed to act. The only thing different from what happens to 10% of students (that's 4.5 million children) during their K-12 school years is that in this instance, a courageous and caring school board member acted and the predator was arrested. This book provides a deep look at employee sexual abuse and why it continues in our nation's schools.
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. Founder and President, The Ruth Institute:
"But how do they get away with it for so long?" people often ask about sexual predators. "Passing the Trash" shows how one public school educator "gaslighted" his victims and groomed the whole community, literally for decades. Louisa Miller has performed an invaluable public service with this meticulously documented case study.
Linda Harvey, MissionAmerica, Columbus, OH:
This horrifying story of a sexual predator – a Toledo-area school Superintendent – should shock every parent in Ohio and throughout the country. The author’s careful documentation of the man’s heartless sexual narcissism at schools (in both Michigan and Ohio) will keep you on the edge of your seat. While those in authority failed to hold him accountable, his victims multiplied as he preyed upon both teen girls and women staff under his supervision. I highly recommend PASSING the TRASH, from which we can all learn valuable lessons about how to better protect our children – by exposing these abusers and throwing the book at them. My hope is that this book will spur the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation with more stringent regulations requiring ethical educator behavior, and prompt reporting of any violations.
The Toledo Blade covered the ongoing scandal surrounding the Superintendent from 2015 through 2018. Here is their article on the release of the eBook:
"New book chronicles Hickey's fall as Washington Local's superintendent"
And an earlier online version of the article:
In the National Catholic Register, Jennifier Roback Morse, PhD, says that the book's information on "grooming" informed her concern over what we all saw at the Super Bowl halftime show (2020). And the parallels with the clergy sex abuse scandal are clear:
The Super Bowl Halftime Show was not only pornographic — it was an internationally televised sexual grooming session.
As Catholics, we have had to ask ourselves, “How does sexual abuse go on for so long?” The answer: Perpetrators groom not only their victims, but often the entire community around the victim.
Clergy sex abuse survivors say perpetrators may victimize some children, but they groom the entire community. One survivor told me that the priest who abused him was a trusted friend of his family. The boy knew if he ever spoke up, the family would be more inclined to take the priest’s word over his.
I recently reviewed a book about public-school sexual abuse and harassment. The title of the book is Passing the Trash, with the dreadfully appropriate subtitle, “Covering Up Educators’ Sex Crimes — and How a Superintendent Was Caught after Decades of Lies.”
In the references to this book, I came across a 2017 publication from the U.S. Department of Education, “A Training Guide for Administrators and Educators on Addressing Adult Sexual Misconduct in the School Setting.” I discovered a section called “Grooming, Trolling and Exploiting.” On page 12, I read this:
"Perpetrators methodically increase the attention and rewards they give to their targets. Grooming allows perpetrators to test their targets’ silence at each step. To nurture the relationship, perpetrators make the target feel “special” by, for example, brandishing gifts and/or spending extra time with the target in nonsexual ways, all in an effort to learn whether the target will keep silent. At the same time, the perpetrator is also testing the adults surrounding the child or school. … It is not uncommon for the behaviors to be done publicly so that the perpetrator can gauge reactions; share information (true or false) to manipulate how the behavior is interpreted by the adults; and further control the child victim. …
"School personnel who engage in sexual jokes without being reprimanded might move on to making physical contact, such as touching a student’s hair or body. If the behavior goes unreported and unaddressed, the adult may grow bolder and escalate to increasingly sexualized behaviors." [Emphasis added.]