Woman says her sexual abuser taught in DD2 schools for years despite DSS record of case

Brooke Olsen says she was sexually abused by longtime Lowcountry school teacher (WCIV)

Brooke Olsen grew up in Summerville, but now she lives on a Johns Island farm.

It’s her safe haven. A place full of animals that provide her with much-needed therapy.

“These guys give me a lot of healing,” she said, petting her two rescue horses Darwin and Cooper.

Olsen is a survivor. She was sexually abused by a family member in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The abuse started when she was nine.

“What he did to me was horrific and horrible,” she said.

She eventually found the courage to report her abuse to a family friend then to her mother.

“We went to DSS and everything came out,” she said. “It went through family court.”

1993 court records show a judge found that Olsen was sexually abused, her abuser was named, and he stipulated to the facts as well.

Two years later the court ordered a permanent restraining order against him.

Because there was no criminal conviction in the case, her abuser was never placed on the statewide or nationwide sex offender registry.

“We exhausted every lead we possible could,” she said. “Due to a lack of physical evidence, because this is a 25 year old case, I was unable to criminally prosecute him.”

He was, however, placed on a lesser known state site—the DSS Statewide Central Registry.

It’s one the Department of Social Services uses internally to track those who have abused and neglected children.

School districts aren’t required to screen new employees against, and they may not be able to. You need the written consent of the person whose name you would like to screen.

That’s Olsen’s biggest concern. Her abuser was allowed to be around children for nearly two decades.

“He was allowed to continue to teach school because of the fact that we did not criminally prosecute him,” she explained. “So he was allowed to teach school for an additional 17 years at Summerville High School and Fort Dorchester High School.”

Dorchester County School District verified his employment from August of 1992 until September of 2010. District officials said they were not aware of the allegations of sexual abuse against him.

“Year after year, 30 students, hour after hour, right in front of him,” said Olsen.

Our news team drove to Olsen’s abuser’s home to see if he would speak with us. He had the security guard turn our news crew around at the gate.

Olsen has no contact or relationship with her abuser.

She’s turned her efforts to creating Marilyn’s Law, named after her daughter, that would make it mandatory for school district to check the DSS Statewide Central Registry.

“It would mean the world to me,” she said. “It would mean our children are safer. It's just one more step to keeping our kids safe and away from sexual predators or abusers. It just makes sense. If there's a registry, it needs to be checked.”

Dorchester County School District uses a SLED background check as well as the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry to screen new employees, according to school officials.

Charleston County School District uses the Background Investigation Bureau to conduct background checks of employees, according to officials. The check for all employees is based on their date of birth, social security number, name, and any aliases. It includes any charges for the past 10 years, as well as screens against the national and state sex offender registries.

Berkeley County School District officials did not respond to our request for information.

There is no statute of limitations on sex offenses in South Carolina. If you or someone you know is the victim of a sex crime, contact police.

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