It’s been an emotionally tough week for many families with young kids in the community.
Bruce Travers is a well-known name and face in local day care and elementary schools. This 37-year-old man, who was employed to work with young kids in day care facilities, local schools and camps, is now facing 19 felony child abuse charges and 15 misdemeanor child porn counts. The charging documents are a disturbing read and illustrate how the man befriended a local family and took advantage of three young kids all under the age of 10 for an extended period of time.
These types of stories bring out the extremes of emotions. It’s understandable as rational individuals are upset to learn their children spent considerable time with the man in a leadership position facing heinous charges. We heard the wide range of sentiments this week.
Early in the week the newspaper was under fire for allegedly covering up the arrest with claims made we were trying to protect the school system where he had worked last school year and was to begin full-time employment this year. By mid-week, once the story was filed online, we were sharply criticized for providing too much identifiable details about the investigation.
The raw feelings and extreme reactions are understandable. The allegations outlined in the charging documents are heinous. The suspect met his eventual victims in an unidentified day care center. There are likely other victims of varying severities. It’s this reality that led many to search for answers and cast aspersions against the school system and day care operations where Travers was employed. The allegation being he was not vetted enough before giving the privilege of working with children. On the surface, it seems the proper due diligence was taken during the hiring process, as his record was clean before the charges were filed last week.
Rather than seeking a place for culpability, we give credit this week to the safeguard put in place leading to Travers being put in jail. According to legal documents, the Maryland State Police Computer Crimes Unit was informed of a child pornographic image being uploaded to the web through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Microsoft Online Operations. The image was traced to Travers’ rental home in Ocean Pines. The uploaded image was enough for local authorities to secure a search warrant, which ultimately led to criminal activity and the 34 charges being levied against Travers.
While there is much to be concerned about in this situation, the community should find some solace in the fact the suspect was caught through an online protection system and will be held accountable. It might not have happened soon enough for many, but at least the abuse will now stop.