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Tangled web in teacher-student sexual abuse case (Part 2)

Continuing a post from earlier this week, we are looking at the strange story of Jim Cunneely, a former teacher in New Jersey who was abused as a 15-year-old teenager by a female teacher. Then, at age 30, Cunneely entered into a sexual relationship with one of his 15-year-old students. He repeated the very abuse that he had suffered as a younger person, and as a result, his life will never be the same.

Cunneely responds to a few questions in numerous videos in our source article, many of which center on how he is moving on with his life and how he deals with the guilt of what he has done. Understandably, he feels very guilty about how he has affected one of his former students, and he at least appears to be moving on as best he can.

Sex offenders like Cunneely are often portrayed as the worst kind of criminals. But, I think many people can admit that, at least in this specific case, there is a little more gray area to it. Sometimes, the offender isn't actually a bad person -- which doesn't mean that his or her actions are or were right. But, "everything exists in a context," as Cunneely himself says in one of the videos we mentioned.

As we mentioned in Part 1, people accused of sex crime are innocent until proven guilty. They may be accused of horrible things, but they are still entitled to their defense and their rights. We can never forget this, because it is essential to the criminal process.

Source:, "A Teacher's Betrayal," Mark Mueller, Nov. 10, 2014

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