How Palm Beach County’s Public Schools Buried Sex Abuse Claims Against a Star Teacher
The first time happened so slowly, so subtly, that the teenage boy thought it must have been a mistake – the hand of his mentor and one-time teacher straying across his leg and coming to rest on his groin.
The second time came a year later, and the boy, by then 16, would later tell police that this alleged encounter – prolonged, repeated, insistent – could not be confused with an accident. So shaken was the teen that he went home afterward and looked up the definition of molestation online.
Nearly three years would pass before Bryce Cutler told his parents and police about what he said happened to him in 2006 and 2007, on a school campus and in the private Jupiter studio of Richard Valentine, a renowned Bak Middle School of the Arts theater instructor.
When, in 2010, Cutler finally revealed to authorities his story of sexual molestation, he was met with two different reactions: belief and inaction.