Are Teen Girls at Risk During Driver's Ed Classes?
Learning to drive is a privilege and rite of passage, but the classes can come with an unexpected risk.
Learning to drive is a privilege and rite of passage, but the classes can come with an unexpected risk for teen women in particular.
An Inside Edition investigation has found that dozens of young girls all across the country have been sexually assaulted when they're alone in a car with their driver's ed instructor, according to police.
Francis Lane, 76, is a driver's ed instructor in Plymouth, Massachusetts, charged with indecent assault and battery of three teenage girls.
Inside Edition Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero tried to talk to him about the charges but he declined to be interviewed.
"You’ve been accused of some very serious misconduct with young teenage girls, what's your response to what you've been accused of?” she asked.
“I have nothing to say,” he replied.
Investigators say he rubbed their thighs and touched them inappropriately during private one-on-one lessons. He has pleaded not guilty.
Despite the allegations, he's still driving around in a car marked student driver.
And Lane is not alone. In Los Angeles, a victim who asked that we not use her name said she was sexually assaulted by Tom Lam, a driver’s ed instructor and registered sex offender.
“I never thought it could happen to me,” the victim told Inside Edition.
Lam pleaded no contest and is currently serving three years in prison.
Last week, investigators outside Portland, Oregon, arrested Paul Douglas Burdick, a driver’s ed instructor and bishop with his local church.
He's accused of groping and fondling more than 20 young girls, allegations he denies.
But detectives say his alleged creepy behavior didn't stop there. Investigators say he would have some of the young girls do jumping jacks and then would film them on his cellphone.
“They would actually stop on the side of the road, near traffic, out in public, and he'd have these girls do jumping jacks. A lot of them were pretty mortified that they were being asked to do that,” a detective told Guerrero.
Guerrero tried to speak to Burdick, but he didn't reply.
"Sir, frankly these charges are horrific, don't you owe an explanation to those girls and their families that trusted you?" she asked.
Now, there's a movement to install cameras in all driver's ed vehicles, says Bob Gillmer, president of the Driving School Association of the Americas.
"Cameras should be in every driving instructor's car to protect both the student and the instructor,” he said.
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