Sea of Destruction: Legal and Social Forces Enabling Sexual Abuse of Children

55 Texas Tech L.R. __(2022 Forthcoming)

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 483

27 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2022

See all articles by Amos N. Guiora

Amos N. Guiora

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: February 25, 2022


This Article seeks to expose the truth of how our schools, laws, and powerful groups in our society actively work to aid mobile molesters in schools—mobile because they move from child to child and school to school, all with the blessing of adult enablers who are charged to protect children. According to news reports, in 2015, at least 498 teachers and other school workers were arrested for sexual misconduct with children. That is almost three per school day. Even worse, in addition to the initial attack by the molester, the child is subsequently revictimized by others who aim attempt to protect the perpetrator and institution: bystanders, teachers, principals, special interest groups, government bureaucrats and politicians.

There are a body of laws and social forces that work to re-brutalize a survivor of child sexual assault. The decision to fail the vulnerable cannot be excused, must not be tolerated. That decision—perhaps decisions is a more accurate reflection—will be our primary focus. We do so to propose measures with one primary goal: to untangle the web of molesters-institutions-enabling that ensnares the vulnerable in a vice-like grip, with nowhere to run or hide.

This Article is comprised of three distinct, yet merged, voices: survivors from the US and Canada; data demonstrating the degree to which the mobility of molesters is institutionalized and enabled; recommendations for legislation focused on criminalizing the enabler. Our emphasis in this Article is specific: enablers protect teachers, coaches, and administrators who assault vulnerable school children mandated by state law to attend school. Focusing on the enablers holds them accountable for their actions and significantly curtails the ability of molesters to harm children. To protect these children, we propose creating mechanisms to criminalize enabling behavior. In that vein, our attention in this Article is not the molesters and their crimes but rather on those who created the infrastructure enabling the perpetrators. That does not minimize the actions of the molester but rather expands the focus to an additional, key actor in the crime.

Keywords: Enablers, Bystanders, Pass the Trash, Mobile Molesters, Survivors, Vulnerable Children, Mandatory Reporting, Criminalizing enablers, Legislation

Suggested Citation

Guiora, Amos N., Sea of Destruction: Legal and Social Forces Enabling Sexual Abuse of Children (February 25, 2022). 55 Texas Tech L.R. __(2022 Forthcoming), University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 483, Available at SSRN:

Amos N. Guiora (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-4295 (Phone)
801-581-6897 (Fax)


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