An Indianapolis Public Schools guidance counselor accused of having sex with her students will be charged with 11 separate crimes Wednesday.
By all indications it appears that numerous school administrators broke the law, along with IPS policies, when they waited almost a week to call authorities. IPS has launched an internal investigation to determine whether or not its reporting was consistent with the district's legal obligations.
Despite graphic photos and text messages, credible evidence that Shana Taylor was having sex with one of her students, detectives say IPS administrators didn't notify authorities until six days later, according to court documents. Experts insist that gave the guidance counselor ample time to destroy evidence and put her alleged victims in danger.
Jack Crawford is a defense attorney and former prosecutor.
"How do we know how many victims are out there? The safety of the child is the most important consideration," he said.
Crawford claims lost time can amount to lost evidence.
"The case can go down the drain in six days. Viewers and others know within the first 24 or 48 hours is the most ample time to get evidence," Crawford explained.
State law, IPS policy and administrative guidelines obtained by Eyewitness News all require employees to immediately report suspected child abuse and neglect to the Department of Child Services.
Instead, court records show the assistant principal of Longfellow Alternative School notified his superiors and passed along the evidence. None of the administrators notified DCS, either. There is no indication of them even calling the school police.
IPS did say in a statement Tuesday that Taylor was suspended as soon as it learned of the allegations, and that she's being recommended for termination.
A human resources case worker questioned Taylor, put her on administrative leave and then, only after obtaining a statement from her alleged victim, told the school to call DCS.
Questioning victims, Crawford insists, should be left to the police.
"Let a trained investigator question, in this case, the young man," he said.
IPS responded to our questions with a one-sentence statement: "Indianapolis Public Schools continues to cooperate with authorities and has no further comment on items related to the ongoing criminal investigation."
Sex crimes detectives claim Taylor engaged in intercourse and other sex acts with at least two male students over a period of nearly four months.
The suspect there are additional victims.
IPS board president Mary Ann Sullivan isn't commenting on what administrators did or didn't do. But she said the board will take this very seriously.
"These allegations are indeed unsettling, yet we believe this matter does not reflect the integrity of our talented educators. While we worked to immediately protect our students, this issue provides an opportunity for us to remind employees of protocols and expectations," IPS' Kristin Cutler said.
Because of this incident and a similar one at Park Tudor School, the Department of Child Services is considering refresher seminars for superintendents and principals, reminding them of the need to immediately report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.
Sex crimes detectives claim Taylor engaged in intercourse and other sex acts with at least two male students over a period of nearly four months. They suspect there are additional victims.
Taylor will be charged with nine counts of child seduction in addition to the delinquency of a minor and dissemination of matter harmful to minors. If convicted, it could amount to more than a decade in prison.