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Teacher Exchanged 47,000 Texts With Sexual Abuse Victims

Teacher Exchanged 47,000 Texts With Sexual Abuse Victims

Several months ago, I wrote a Care2 post about the surprisingly frequent instances of sexual abuse in schools. Unfortunately, this issue hits very close to home as my former band teacher, Steve Orland, currently faces multiple charges of sexual abuse, has been fired from his job, and may receive extensive prison time if convicted. I was close to Mr. Orland, and have a hard time believing that he could act so inappropriately… but the evidence seems to prove otherwise.

According to the Daily Herald:

  • Orland exchanged 31,339 text messages with one of his accusers and 15,552 text messages with his other accusers– a total of 46,891.
  • Orland sent one victim nine notes and greeting cards to her locker and her home. Some notes said he was thinking of her and wanted to spend more time together.
  • Orland made sexual advances toward one girl while on a band trip to Peoria from Jan. 26 through Jan. 29, 2011.

Despite these claims, Orland’s family believes that he is innocent and continues to stand behind him through court proceedings. He could face up to 45 years in prison.

Whenever a situation like this arises, the focus is always on the victims (as it should be). But teachers influence hundreds or thousands of students over their careers, and any inappropriate behavior affects not only current students but also ones who knew the teacher years ago.

Although my friends and I are out of college now, each new newspaper article about Mr. Orland spurs discussion and anxiety. We ask each other, “Do you think he did it? Could he have done it? Was he doing it while we were there?” We look back on our good times in the band room and wonder if something sinister was going on behind our backs. We doubt the authenticity of our entire high school experience.

I hope Orland realizes the gravity of his actions. He ruined his own career. He allegedly sexually abused underage high school girls, an unforgivable offense. And he inadvertently hurt every single student that ever looked up to him as a role model. Thanks, Mr. O.

Related Stories:

How Common Is Sexual Abuse in Schools?

2nd Graders Allegedly Engaged in Sexual Act in Oakland Classroom

Joe Biden Issues New Sexual Assault Guidelines for Universities


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4:57PM PST on Jan 5, 2013


11:49AM PST on Feb 3, 2012

I am so sorry this had to happen to you.

11:32AM PST on Dec 29, 2011

Sending numerous texts is not a sign of innocence!! What a creep!!!!!!!!!!!

1:00AM PST on Dec 26, 2011

Thanks for the article.

2:26AM PST on Dec 23, 2011

To those criticizing the writer of this piece: he was her *band* teacher. If you've never been in a high school band and didn't have band geek friends, you don't know why he's so significant.
At certain times of year, the band students often put in an extra 3 hours a day on rehearsals, marching, etc. The group drills and develops discipline together. They go on long trips together; they may go to camp, or a tour that means they have overnight stays in hotels as a group. You know not only the other students, but their family members, who volunteer. You are often closer to them than you are to your cousins.
And then to find out that the teacher/director/choreographer/maestro who was a father figure during all of that was abusing the trust he was given? And to wonder if you missed the signs and failed to protect someone who was close to you?
In short, it's more like finding out an uncle had abused your second cousin at a family picnic you missed, than if your algebra teacher turned out to be a bit of a scuzzbucket. Yes, it's traumatic for her. If my band director had been accused of something like that-- I'd be in tears for his children, who came to camp with us. I'd be contacting my fellow band members... who 20 years later, have made their own Facebook page for the group. I'd be searching my head for clues I'd missed.

8:55PM PST on Dec 22, 2011

Kasia Y, what? What does home schooling and faith based education have to do with abuse and molestation?

5:17PM PST on Dec 22, 2011

Would you please look at the number of texts and then locate your brain? There's something very, very fishy in this story.
I know that not all teachers work the same way, but my most e-talkative student (by e-mail) sent me about twelve messages per semester (and that was odd!). Everything was strictly work-related.
I'm happy when my kids end up spelling something correctly, but after class, I never, ever "think of them", and I don't want to spend more time with them.
That man needs therapy (or something), and a quick change of career.
I don't know if the Daily Herald can be trusted, or if it's a fishwrapper, but if the facts from them are correct, then something unhealthy was going on.

4:54PM PST on Dec 22, 2011


10:51AM PST on Dec 22, 2011

Teachers are people too and are prone to the same mistakes that the rest of the population makes. Difference here is their is no doubt that the teacher knew the age of the victim.

10:50AM PST on Dec 22, 2011

Religious sexual repression has high costs, even when it is forced upon a largely secular society. Radical reform of the education system is required to eliminate all religious influence within it. It would be wise to end home schooling and any faith based schooling. In a democracy everyone should be educated in a world class public setting. There are no excuses, unless you're a sociopath.

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